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Granlund sits, Coyle to top line for Wild

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Losers of two straight games, the Minnesota Wild return home to St. Paul, where they are 4-1 this season, to face the Vancouver Canucks.

For the first time all season, Wild coach Mike Yeo has elected to break up his first line of center Mikko Koivu and wings Zach Parise and Dany Heatley. Koivu and Parise remain and will be joined by rookie right wing Charlie Coyle, who will play in his second career NHL game. It also will be the home debut for a player considered one of the Wild's top prospects since his acquisition from the San Jose Sharks two summers ago.

"It's special to be playing with those guys," Coyle said. "I'd like to thank coach for giving me the opportunity, but obviously, you have to take advantage of it. Whatever role they put me in, I'm going to play to the best of my ability and help this team win."

Also making his Wild debut will be fourth-liner Mike Rupp, who was acquired from the New York Rangers on Monday in a trade for Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri. Rupp will play on a line with center Zenon Konopka and Devin Setoguchi.

"Playing with my size, forechecking, finishing my checks, sticking up for my teammates, doing those things," Rupp said of his role with the team. "I think that's what we're trying to look for with our fourth line."

Perhaps a surprise healthy scratch for Minnesota this evening will be rookie center Mikael Granlund, whose game has struggled in the early going. Expected to be one of the League's best rookie skaters this season, the adjustment for the Finnish League veteran has been slow.

"It was a tough decision, but we have a lot of good hockey players here right now," Yeo said. "Some of it is numbers, but some guys have a little more in the bank than him."

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