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At the Rink: Wild at Stars

by Steve Hunt /

DALLAS -- Minnesota Wild defenseman Marco Scandella, who missed the previous two games because of personal reasons, will return to the lineup Saturday against the Dallas Stars (8 p.m. ET; FS-SW+, FS-N).

Scandella will be partnered with Nate Prosser, and Christian Folin will be the seventh defenseman as the Wild will use 11 forwards. Forward Brett Bulmer, recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Friday, will be a healthy scratch.

"It's not ideal," Wild coach Mike Yeo said of Scandella returning without practicing. He last played Nov. 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. "It's not the perfect situation but he's too valuable a player for us to sit around and not have him play. I'm not worried about his conditioning. Might take a little bit of time to get there but defending-wise he's too important to us to not be playing against this team."

Scandella has five points and a plus-3 rating in 13 games and averages 20:01 of ice time per game. He leads the Wild with 1:45 per game shorthanded.

The Wild (10-3-2) have won three straight and will have Devan Dubnyk in goal for the eighth consecutive game.

Dallas (13-4-0) has won four of its past five (4-1-0), including a 6-3 victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he is keeping his forward lines and defense pairs intact from that win.

Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice and will start a second consecutive game and for the fifth time in the past six games.

Saturday will be the first of five games between the Stars and Wild this season, but Ruff said he knows exactly what to expect from the Wild.

"We know they're playing pretty well away from the puck," he said. "They've won three in a row and I like their back end. I know their goaltender's been going pretty good for them."

Here are the projected lineups:


Thomas Vanek - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter

Ryan Carter - Charlie Coyle - Jordan Schroeder

Chris Porter - Erik Haula

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba

Nate Prosser - Marco Scandella

Christian Folin

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

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

Scratched: Niklas Backstrom, Brett Bulmer


Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Sharp

Mattias Janmark - Cody Eakin - Jason Spezza

Ales Hemsky - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour

Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Valeri Nichushkin

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers

Jamie Oleksiak - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Injured: Curtis McKenzie (hip), Travis Moen (upper body)

Scratched: Patrick Eaves, Jyrki Jokipakka

Status report: After missing 14 games because of a lower-body injury, Eaves is healthy but likely will be a healthy scratch. … Jokipakka likely will be scratched for the second straight game as he continues to get over a minor lower-body injury.

Who's hot: Koivu has 10 goals and 25 points in 30 career games against the Stars. … Spurgeon has one goal and four assists during a four-game point streak. … Jamie Benn has at least one point in five of his past six games against the Wild at American Airlines Center. … Seguin has 10 points in 10 career games against the Wild.

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