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Preview: Wild at Coyotes

Shane Doan of Arizona could be playing in final NHL game; Martin Hanzal of Minnesota faces former team for first time

by Jerry Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (48-25-8) at COYOTES (30-41-10)

10 p.m. ET; FS-A PLUS, FS-N, NHL.TV

 

Wild team scope

The Minnesota Wild are locked into second place in the Central Division and will play either the Nashville Predators or the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Wild can set a franchise record with their 49th win and need one point to reach a franchise record with 105 points. Minnesota is 4-1-0 in its past five games after winning two of its previous 13 games (2-9-2). Forward Chris Stewart missed a 4-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday with an illness, but flew to meet the team in Arizona on Saturday and is expected to play. Forwards Martin Hanzal and Ryan White return to Arizona for the first time since the Coyotes traded each to the Wild on Feb. 26 for three draft picks. Hanzal has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 19 games with Minnesota after spending 10 seasons in Arizona. "I'm still processing the idea," Hanzal said of playing against his former teammates. "It's a little weird to be on the other side. It took me a little while to adjust because I played here so long and with the same coach [Dave Tippett]. It took a couple of weeks to adjust. The first couple of games I was lost. But I feel OK now and I'm focusing on the playoffs." Devan Dubnyk, who became the first Wild goaltender to win 40 games in a season on Thursday, will rest Saturday; backup Darcy Kuemper (7-5-3) will start. Minnesota is 10-1-2 in the past 13 games against Arizona and have at least one point in 10 straight games, equaling the longest point streak against one opponent in franchise history.

 

Coyotes team scope

Arizona Coyotes forward Shane Doan will play in his 1,540th NHL game, tying Johnny Bucyk for 14th place on the all-time games played list. Doan, Arizona's captain, has not said if he will return for a 22nd season. "I think there's a chance I come back and play. There's a chance I don't," he said. "I think last year, at the end of the year, I was pretty sure I was coming back. And this year, it's not near as sure. But at the same time, there's still a large part of me that wants to." The Coyotes are 3-0-1 in their past four games. Since Jan. 21, Arizona has 38 points in 36 games (17-15-4), the second-highest total to the Winnipeg Jets among teams that have been eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup playoffs. "There is frustration from a difficult season, but you see the benefit of that frustration and how we are moving forward and how far out young players have come," coach Dave Tippett said. Forward Radim Vrbata reached the 20-goal mark with two in a 4-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Goaltender Mike Smith is expected to start and play in his 312th game with the Coyotes, passing Bob Essensa for the most in franchise history.

 

Wild projected lineup

Zach Parise -- Eric Staal -- Nino Niederreiter

Chris Stewart -- Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Charlie Coyle -- Martin Hanzal -- Jason Zucker

Erik Haula -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Ryan White

Ryan Suter -- Nate Prosser

Marco Scandella -- Matt Dumba

Jonas Brodin -- Christian Folin

Darcy Kuemper

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Jordan Schroeder, Mikael Granlund

Injured: Jared Spurgeon (lower body),

 

Coyotes projected lineup

Brendan Perlini -- Christian Dvorak -- Shane Doan

Max Domi -- Alexander Burmistrov -- Anthony Duclair

Jamie McGinn -- Josh Jooris -- Radim Vrbata

Lawson Crouse -- Jordan Martinook -- Tobias Rieder

Alex Goligoski -- Connor Murphy

Kevin Connauton -- Luke Schenn

Jakob Chychrun -- Zbynek Michalek

Mike Smith

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Anthony DeAngelo, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Peter Holland, Clayton Keller, Teemu Pulkkinen

Injured: Brad Richardson (leg)

 

Status report

Michalek, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, will play his third game for Arizona in place of DeAngelo. ... Granlund, who leads the Wild with 69 points (26 goals, 43 assists), will be a healthy scratch.

 

Who's hot

Staal has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games. ... Niederreiter has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past six games. ... Domi has five assists in his past four games. Burmistrov has five points (four goals, one assist) in a four-game point streak. ... Dvorak has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past five games.

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