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Preview: Hurricanes at Wild

Carolina forward Bryan Bickell will play first NHL game since Oct. 30

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

HURRICANES (35-29-14) at WILD (46-25-8)

8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-CR, NHL.TV

Hurricanes team scope

Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell will play his first NHL game since Oct. 30. Bickell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on Nov. 11 and returned to hockey with Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Feb. 25. "With the circumstances and the rough road that me and my family went through, to get this opportunity with some games left [I'm] definitely blessed," Bickell said. "We didn't know when this day was going to come, but I'm happy to be here." Coach Bill Peters said Bickell will play on a line with Brock McGinn and Andrew Poturalski, who is making his NHL debut. "He's playing real well," Peters said of Poturalski. "We have to make sure we get him enough ice time and an opportunity and once he settles down and plays he'll be fine." The Hurricanes need a win and an Ottawa Senators loss to keep their Stanley Cup Playoff hopes alive. They're eight points behind the Boston Bruins and Senators for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference with four games remaining. Carolina is 7-2-2 in its past 11 games. Goaltender Cam Ward, 3-1-0 with six goals allowed in his past four games, will start.


Wild team scope

The Minnesota Wild will clinch second place in the Central Division with a win in their final home game of the regular season. They lead the St. Louis Blues by seven points but are 3-8-2 in their past 13 games. The Wild will honor center Eric Staal's 1,000th NHL game, a milestone he reached on March 19. Staal played 909 games through 12 seasons with the Hurricanes. "It's a crazy game sometimes, to be able to step back at certain moments and reflect on some things that are cool, it's special," Staal said. "It's going to be cool to be able to do that before the game. But then when we get out there, we're looking to be excited about the challenge and build our game for playoff time because that's what we're focused on coming up." Goalie Devan Dubnyk will start.


Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Jordan Staal -- Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom -- Victor Rask -- Teuvo Teravainen

Jeff Skinner -- Derek Ryan -- Lee Stempniak

Andrew Poturalski -- Bryan Bickell -- Brock McGinn

Noah Hanifin -- Justin Faulk

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Klas Dahlbeck -- Matt Tennyson

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Scratched: None

Injured: Ryan Murphy (lower body), Jay McClement (lower body)


Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Chris Stewart

Zach Parise -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Charlie Coyle -- Martin Hanzal -- Jason Pominville

Erik Haula -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Ryan White

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella -- Matt Dumba

Jonas Brodin -- Christian Folin

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Nate Prosser, Jordan Schroeder

Injured: Jason Zucker (upper body) 


Status report

The Hurricanes reassigned forwards Lucas Wallmark and Phillip Di Giuseppe to Charlotte of the American Hockey League. … Zucker will miss his third straight game. "To me it makes no sense. He hasn't skated in a week to all of a sudden put him in there," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He's a big part of our team, and the last thing we want to do is lose him for the next week and beyond." Minnesota reassigned goaltender Alex Stalock to Iowa of the AHL.


Who's hot

Skinner has 15 points (12 goals, three assists) in his past 13 games. Aho has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past 11 games. … Lindholm has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in his past 15 games. Staal has 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in his past 14 games.

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