ST. PAUL --
While one captain looks as though he will continue his ironman streak tonight at Xcel Energy Center, another looks to start a new one.
Minnesota's Mikko Koivu
is expected to return after missing the Wild's last eight games with an upper-body injury. Clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the west, Koivu's return could be a major boon to a Wild squad kicking off a critical four-game homestand against the rival Canucks, who appear likely to have Henrik Sedin
in the lineup tonight.
"I feel good, I feel stronger, the last couple of days have been good," Koivu said.
Koivu skated today between wingers Dany Heatley
and Devin Setoguchi
, reuniting a line that had been split up with Koivu out of the lineup. Koivu's return could also help spark a Minnesota offense that has sputtered of late, scoring just three goals total over the Wild's last three games. To its credit, Minnesota has gone 1-1-1 in that stretch.
"As much as anything else, just his leadership, he's a warrior out there. That's contagious with the rest of the group," Wild coach Mike Yeo
said. "With what he contributes and the role he has with our team, his play and the situations we put him out in and his effectiveness in those situations."