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At the Rink: Jets at Wild

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise will be back in the lineup when the Wild hosts the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday at Xcel Energy Center.

Parise missed the past five games with a concussion but will make his return after participating in several recent practices and morning skates with no setbacks.

Minnesota needs Parise too. The Wild have scored more than two goals in a game once in Parise's absence and went 2-3-0 without him. Parise leads the Wild with 10 points despite missing nearly a third of the team's games so far.

Wild coach Mike Yeo said he doesn’t expect to ease Parise back into the lineup either.

"He's been keeping himself in great shape," Yeo said. "We'll get him out there."

Yeo said Parise will play on the left side of center Mikko Koivu and right wing Jason Pominville on the Wild's top line.

With Minnesota's second line of Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle playing well the past two games, that likely shifts Jason Zucker, who had been playing with Koivu and Pominville, to the third line and Thomas Vanek to the fourth line.

"It moves some good players down in some spots in the lineup which brings back some of that depth we were pleased with early in the year," Yeo said. "He [Parise] is obviously a huge part of our team as far as a leader and the relentlessness that he plays with night in and night out."

Minnesota also received good news about defenseman Marco Scandella, who will play if all goes well in pregame warmups. Scandella and fellow defenseman Jonas Brodin have missed the past two games due to illness, believed to be the mumps.

Brodin will not play and was placed on injured reserve earlier in the day Sunday to make room for Parise on the active roster. Brodin's placement on IR was set retroactively to Nov. 11.

"I would say it has hit [Brodin] a little harder," Yeo said. "Marco has skated, he's been on the ice. He's ready to go."

The Jets, like the Wild, are playing the second half of back-to-back games after losing 2-1 at the Nashville Predators on Saturday. The game Sunday will finish a five-game road swing for Winnipeg, which is 2-2-0 on the trip so far. The Jets have scored six goals in those four games.

Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made 27 saves in a losing effort against the Predators but coach Paul Maurice will start him again Sunday.

Like the Wild, the Jets did not skate Sunday morning. Maurice is scheduled to discuss his lineup later Sunday afternoon.

Here are the projected lineups:

JETS

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik

Evander Kane - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Adam Lowry - Dustin Byfuglien

Chris Thorburn - Jim Slater - Matt Halischuk

Toby Enstrom - Zach Bogosian

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Adam Pardy - Paul Postma

Michael Hutchinson

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: TJ Galiardi, Grant Clitsome, Anthony Peluso

Injured: None

WILD

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter - Mikael Granlund - Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine

Thomas Vanek - Erik Haula - Ryan Carter

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Nate Prosser

Keith Ballard - Matt Dumba

Niklas Backstrom

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Jordan Schroeder, Stu Bickel, Justin Falk

Injured: Matt Cooke (lower body), Jonas Brodin (illness), Josh Harding (foot)

Status report: Brodin was placed on injured reserve to make room for Parise on the active roster.

Who’s hot: Despite the loss Saturday, Pavelec ranks in the top 10 in the NHL in wins (seven), goals-against average (1.99) and save percentage (.928). ... Carter has at least one point in three straight games. He is one of six Wild players tied for second on the team with nine points.

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