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Ducks' Wagner to make NHL debut vs. Wild

by Curtis Zupke

WILD (2-0-0) at DUCKS (3-1-0)


ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is never shy to try new looks, so it's not a surprise that he will have a new face in the lineup when Anaheim plays its home opener Friday against the Minnesota Wild.

Left wing Chris Wagner will make his NHL debut after he was recalled Wednesday. Boudreau told Wagner on Thursday he would be in; he will play on the fourth line in place of Rickard Rakell, who has had an inconsistent start. Boudreau likes to go with a hot hand, and Wagner recently was the American Hockey League Player of the Week.

"He might be up here for a game or two, let's see what he’s got," Boudreau said. "No sense sitting him out. [Wagner and Rakell] both will be playing in an off-position, but he's coming off player of the week in the American Hockey League. He's feeling pretty good about himself. He's pretty excited about being up in the NHL for the first time, so instead of sitting let's see what he can do."

Wagner has been on a whirlwind the past few days.

"I don't know if my mom and dad have slept since Tuesday when I called them and told them I was coming up," Wagner told the Orange County Register.

It will be defenseman Clayton Stoner's first game against his former team. Stoner signed a four-year contract with Anaheim after parts of five seasons with the Wild.

"It's just a little bit more of a special game," Stoner said. "I'm just going to play my hardest and do what I try to do every night, so not much is going to change there. But there's definitely has a little extra meaning."

Left wing Dany Heatley played for the Wild the previous three seasons but is out with a groin injury. Heatley is vague about his return because he wants to get fully healthy, but said it kind of hurts to miss this game, "not just because of who we're playing but [it's] the home opener. I had a lot of fun playing in this rink [in the preseason]."

Anaheim will play its first home game since May 16, when it was eliminated in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round by the Los Angeles Kings. The organization hung its 2014 Pacific Division banner with no fanfare.

"It was kind of a decision that we made," captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "Obviously that division title is a goal along the way but it's not the ultimate goal. It's not a real reason to celebrate too highly. It's something to put in the rafters and obviously it builds the franchise and builds the history but it wasn't something that we wanted to make a big deal about."

Minnesota is the fifth team since 1943-44 to begin the season with two shutouts. The Wild have been idle for five days, including a team-bonding trip to Newport Coast, Calif., and coach Mike Yeo changed the lineup with right wing Justin Fontaine back from a lower-body injury to play on the top line, while defenseman Kyle Brodziak will be a healthy scratch.

"We're a deeper team," Yeo said. "We've had some healthy guys out of the lineup already. This is the lineup we have [Friday]. I think the one thing we want to create is the idea that guys are pushing each other, so obviously we have that right now."

Former Ducks center Saku Koivu, brother of Wild center Mikko, will be in attendance.

Here are the projected lineups:


Thomas Vanek - Mikko Koivu - Justin Fontaine

Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Charlie Coyle

Matt Cooke - Ryan Carter - Jason Zucker

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Jared Spurgeon - Marco Scandella

Matt Dumba - Keith Ballard

Darcy Kuemper

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Kyle Brodziak, Christian Folin, Nate Prosser

Injured: None


Matt Beleskey - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Emerson Etem - Ryan Kesler - Devante Smith-Pelly

Andrew Cogliano - William Karlsson - Jakob Silfverberg

Chris Wagner - Nate Thompson - Tim Jackman

Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy

Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Mark Fistric, Rickard Rakell

Injured: Patrick Maroon (knee), Dany Heatley (groin), Kyle Palmieri (ankle), Bryan Allen (lower body), Sheldon Souray (wrist)

Status report: Carter will move to center after Yeo said they haven't seen him there a lot. … Andersen will face Minnesota for the first time. … Beleskey has played with Getzlaf and Perry off and on the past few seasons.

Who's hot: Perry and Getzlaf each have six points to lead the Ducks. … Parise leads Minnesota with two goals, four points and 19 shots on goal.

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