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Cullen returns home for Predators against Wild

by Dan Myers /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Nashville Predators center Matt Cullen returns home for the first time since leaving the Minnesota Wild last summer when the Predators play the Wild Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.

Cullen, a Moorhead, Minn. native, spent the last three seasons with the Wild, scoring 33 goals and 101 points in 193 games.

The Wild and Predators played two weeks ago in Nashville, so playing against his former teammates won't be something new. But this is Cullen's first trip to St. Paul as an opponent since Oct. 24, 2009 when Cullen skated for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Back then, Cullen hadn't yet become a fan favorite in Minnesota.

"It was funny walking past the doors [to the Wild locker room]," Cullen said. "It's kind of nice having already played one time, it helped quite a bit. But to be on the ice here, this building, on the other bench, it will be a strange feeling.

"It will be fun. I've been looking forward to getting here. I just love playing here. I have great memories here. I'm looking forward to it."

The Wild have tweaked their forward group once again, moving Nino Niederreiter back to the top line on the right side with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise. Jason Pominville and Dany Heatley will flank Mikael Granlund on the second line. Matt Cooke is back on the third line.

Nate Prosser will step into the lineup tonight for just the second time this season. Josh Harding will start in goal.

Here are the projected lineups for the Predators and Wild:


Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist

Gabriel Bourque - Matt Cullen - Craig Smith

Eric Nystrom - Nick Spaling - Filip Forsberg

Viktor Stalberg - Paul Gaustad - Matt Hendricks

Seth Jones - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Kevin Klein

Victor Bartley - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Rich Clune

Injured: Roman Josi (concussion), Mike Fisher (lower body)


Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter

Dany Heatley - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Matt Cooke - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine

Stephane Veilleux - Zenon Konopka - Torrey Mitchell

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Nate Prosser - Clayton Stoner

Josh Harding

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Matt Dumba

Injured: Mike Rupp (knee), Charlie Coyle (knee), Keith Ballard (undisclosed)

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