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At the Rink: Jets at Wild

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Defenseman Marco Scandella will not play for the Minnesota Wild when they host the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-N).

Scandella, who was not at practice Monday, is away from the Wild because of a family matter and it is unclear when he will return. The Wild open a four-game road trip Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The plan for now is to bring Scandella's equipment on the road and slot him back into the lineup upon his return.

"I think even with a healthy lineup we'd have to be at our best," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "We're going to have to find a way even more [without Scandella]."

Scandella has two goals, three assists and a plus-3 rating in 13 games this season. He had taken the place of injured left wing Zach Parise on the Wild's top power-play unit and had a power-play goal Thursday against the Nashville Predators.

Jason Zucker will replace Scandella on the power play and Yeo said he expects Zucker to provide an offensive boost.

"He's there to be a shooter, that's for sure," Yeo said. "It's a little bit different; a lot of the time he's had on the power play this year he's been playing off the flank, playing on his forehand side. It'll be a different adjustment as far as the looks he's getting, how he's facing the net, where the puck is coming from.

"But he's certainly a guy who has some finish to his game."

Defenseman Nate Prosser, who missed the game Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning because of a back injury, will replace Scandella in the lineup.

For the second consecutive game the Wild also will have a forward making his NHL debut. With Parise out with a sprained right medial collateral ligament, Minnesota has been mixing and matching players in its bottom-six forward group.

Playing against a physical team like the Jets means 6-foot-4, 212-pound Kurtis Gabriel, recalled Monday from Iowa of the American Hockey League, will get into the lineup.

"It's my type of game and I think it will bring out the best in me," Gabriel said. "I'll be able to stand up for teammates; it's part of my job, that's no secret. But being responsible defensively and melding into the group while adding that physical element."

Winnipeg opens a four-game road trip, all against Central Division opponents. Coach Paul Maurice acknowledged the importance of this stretch of games, but said he will be taking one day at a time.

"Everybody knows what the schedule is," he said. "But to play well and have success in any of these games you've really got to be on your game. That means you focus on this one and this one only in terms of how you run the bench as a coach, and you're not saving anything for the next night."

Forward Andrew Copp, who has missed the past four games because of an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup on Winnipeg's fourth line.

Maurice said he hopes Copp can pick up where he left off before the injury.

"Our so-called fourth line has done a really good job this year with Andrew in and with Andrew out, spending more time in the offensive zone than they do in the defensive zone, and that's what you're looking for from those guys," Maurice said. "It'd be nice if they'd bang a few in and you want them to be plus players and they are."

Here are the projected lineups:


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Nikolaj Ehlers

Alexander Burmistrov - Adam Lowry - Drew Stafford

Chris Thorburn - Andrew Copp - Nic Petan

Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Tyler Myers - Jacob Trouba

Mark Stuart - Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back)

Scratched: Adam Pardy, Ben Chiarot, Anthony Peluso


Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter

Jason Pominville - Mikael Granlund - Charlie Coyle

Thomas Vanek - Erik Haula - Jordan Schroeder

Chris Porter - Ryan Carter - Kurtis Gabriel

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba

Nate Prosser - Christian Folin

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Injured: Zach Parise (knee), Justin Fontaine (knee), Tyler Graovac (sports hernia)

Scratched: Marco Scandella, Niklas Backstrom

Status report: Peluso took part in line rushes during morning skate but worked later with the scratches. ... Dubnyk is making his sixth consecutive start in goal.

Who's hot: Wheeler's 17 points is tied for fourth-most in the NHL. ... Zucker had a seven-game point streak stopped Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has three goals and five assists in his past eight games.

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