Skip to main content

At the Rink: Predators at Wild

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker will be in the lineup against the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-TN) after taking a slash at the end of the game on Thursday.

With less than 10 seconds remaining against the Boston Bruins Thursday, Zucker took a stick to the back of the left knee from forward Matt Beleskey. Zucker was help of teammates, putting no weight on his leg as he left.

"At first it was painful, then it was numb after that," Zucker said.

Beleskey's slash hit Zucker in the back of the knee between the calf and quad muscles, causing his leg to go numb. Slowly, the feeling started coming back. After the game, he was able to walk from the training room to his locker without assistance.

Zucker said the feeling in his leg came back fully on the plane ride back to Minnesota and by the time the team landed, he felt better.

"Knock on wood, I've never had anything happen with an MCL or anything, but I don't think your whole leg goes numb," Zucker said. "Once I knew that's what it was, that I couldn't feel my leg, I kind of knew it was something [nerve related].

"He just got me in the right spot. I don't think it was anything that bad. I don't think it was anything vicious."

Minnesota is without defenseman Marco Scandella (lower body), and forwards Zach Parise (knee) and Justin Fontaine (knee).

The Wild (10-5-3) the last 10 days on the road, where managing the illness has proven difficult.

"You're on the bus together, you're on the planes together, you're with the guys all the time at dinner," Yeo said. "It's definitely easy for these things to spread. You add on top of that a busy schedule, a lot of travel and you don't get quite the sleep you do when you're at home."

Over the course of Minnesota's four-game road trip, nearly half the team has been hit by the bug; Erik Haula and Jonas Brodin missed games because of it while others missed practices or played through it.

The Wild begins a four-game homestand on Saturday and Yeo said he hopes returning to the Twin Cities will make it easier for his team to shake the illness.

"Hopefully this has run its course now and we can move on," Yeo said.

Nashville Predators (11-4-3) did not skate on Saturday following a 4-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Friday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - James Neal

Miikka Salomaki - Calle Jarnkrok - Cody Hodgson

Gabriel Bourque - Colton Sissons - Austin Watson

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Barret Jackman - Seth Jones

Carter Hutton

Pekka Rinne

Injured: Eric Nystrom (upper body), Paul Gaustad (lower body)

Scratched: Victor Bartley, Anthony Bitetto


Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter

Thomas Vanek - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Ryan Carter - Charlie Coyle - Jordan Schroeder

Chris Porter - Erik Haula - Brett Bulmer

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), Marco Scandella (lower body)

Scratched: Niklas Backstrom

Status report: Hutton is expected to start in goal after Rinne allowed three goals on 17 shots against the Blue Jackets on Friday. ... Brodin is in the lineup after missing the game on Thursday because of illness. ... Parise took part in the morning skate and was scheduled to see doctors on Saturday to determine if he could be cleared for contact. "I just think the main thing right now is let's just hear what the doctors have to say, and then we can decide how quickly we can try to get him back," Yeo told the Wild's website. "But obviously putting his health first, and his long-term health first, making sure that when he comes back that he's going to stay in."

Who's hot: Neal is averaging a point per game over his last five games. ... Zucker has 12 points in his last 13 games, including a goal against the Bruins on Thursday.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.