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Coyle back for Wild against Flames

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- As it turns out Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo's prognosis of Charlie Coyle's setback Friday was correct after all.

After missing 11 games with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee, Coyle returned Friday against the Montreal Canadiens. But a substantial amount of what Coyle termed as "just soreness" returned after the game and Coyle didn't play Sunday against the New Jersey Devils. Following the Wild's morning skate Sunday, Yeo said the knee had been re-injured against Montreal but classified Coyle as day-to-day.

Coaches are known for not always being upfront when it comes to injuries, but in this case day-to-day was spot-on. Coyle will return to the lineup Tuesday when the Wild play the Calgary Flames at Xcel Energy Center. He'll be the right wing on the Wild's top line, alongside Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu.

"A couple days off was really good," Coyle said. "I'm feeling a lot better about myself. It feels great right now. I'm ready to go."

The Wild hope Coyle can spark Parise and Koivu, who have struggled to score points 5-on-5. Parise has 11 points with five of them coming on the power play. Half of Koivu's eight points have come with the man-advantage, and he has just one goal.

Coyle played several games with Parise and Koivu last season and the line had solid chemistry.

"Mikko and I need to play better, but having Charlie back on our line should help," Parise said.

Yeo has indicated in recent days that he'd like to find someone to jump into that top-line wing spot and take on the challenge for more than a game or two. The Wild already have experimented with Nino Niederreiter, Dany Heatley, Justin Fontaine and Torrey Mitchell at that spot. Coyle played there during the final period of the Montreal game and seemed to fit in well.

"He adds a lot to that line," Yeo said. "We've seen a lot of shuffling, a lot of moving parts, so to get a guy that both Mikko and Zach are not only familiar with but comfortable with gives them an opportunity to go out there and play their best."

Coming off a 3-2 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, the Flames' first win at the United Center in 10 tries, the team likely will go with Reto Berra again in goal. Berra, acquired last season as part of the trade that sent defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues, made 42 saves against the Blackhawks. In doing so he became just the sixth goaltender in NHL history to beat the defending Stanley Cup champions in his NHL debut.

It's expected another Flames player will make his NHL debut. Defenseman Chad Billins, called up but scratched Sunday, likely will be in the lineup.

Here is how the lineups for the teams likely will look Tuesday:


Curtis Glencross - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Michael Cammalleri - Joe Colborne - TJ Galiardi

Lance Bouma - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Tim Jackman - Mikael Backlund - Brian McGrattan

Chris Butler - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Shane O'Brien - Chad Billins

Reto Berra

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Sven Baertschi, Derek Smith

Injured: Mark Giordano (ankle), Christopher Breen (abdominal wall strain), Lee Stempniak (foot)


Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Nino Niederreiter - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Matt Cooke - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine

Dany Heatley - Zenon Konopka - Torrey Mitchell

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Clayton Stoner - Keith Ballard

Josh Harding

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Mathew Dumba, Nate Prosser, Carson McMillan

Injured: Mike Rupp (knee)

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