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Preview: Wild at Hurricanes

Minnesota seeks turnaround; Eddie Lack in goal for Carolina

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (43-19-6) at HURRICANES (28-27-12)

7 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, FS-CR, NHL.TV

 

Wild team scope

The Minnesota Wild are 1-3-0 heading into the final game of a five-game road trip and have lost two straight games and four of their past five. They enter Thursday one point behind the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference. Eric Staal, who was captain of the Carolina Hurricanes from 2010-16, returns to PNC Arena for the second time. He returned last season after he was traded to the New York Rangers prior to the NHL Trade Deadline. "You want to make sure you see everybody and say hi," Staal said after practice on Wednesday. "So many people that I really care about and have remained close with over this time." Staal, who will play in his 998th game, has 23 goals in his first season with Minnesota.

 

Hurricanes team scope

Goaltender Eddie Lack will start for the Hurricanes, who have points in each of the past four games (2-0-2). Brock McGinn is expected to return from an upper-body injury after missing the past seven games. The return of Eric Staal brings another head-to-head matchup with his brother, Jordan Staal. "It's fun. It's a different game when you see your brother on the other side," Jordan said. "When you start taking faceoffs against your brother, it's pretty neat. There's no question it's a different game." After coaching the brothers for most of two seasons, Bill Peters said Eric and Jordan have a lot in common on the ice. "They're similar players," Peters said. "They start with the puck a lot. They're both 6-foot-4, they're good on draws. If they get it in behind you, they're going to be heavy and grind you, and you're going to spend your shift possibly in the defensive zone." Carolina is 2-4-3 in the past nine games at home.

 

Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise -- Erik Haula -- Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart -- Tyler Graovac -- Ryan White

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Marco Scandella -- Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Jordan Schroeder

Injured: Martin Hanzal (illness), Christian Folin (upper body), Gustav Olofsson (upper body)

 

Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Jordan Staal -- Teuvo Teravainen

Jeff Skinner -- Victor Rask -- Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom -- Lucas Wallmark -- Lee Stempniak

Brock McGinn -- Derrek Ryan -- Patrick Brown

Jaccob Slavin -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin -- Brett Pesce

Klas Dahlbeck -- Ryan Murphy

Eddie Lack

Cam Ward

Scratched: Matt Tennyson

Injured: Jay McClement (lower body), Phillip Di Giuseppe (upper body), Valentin Zykov (upper body)

 

Status report

The Wild, who practiced Wednesday, did not hold a morning skate. ...Peters said McClement, who was injured against the New York Islanders on Tuesday, had an MRI exam and is out for at least two weeks. ... Peters said Di Giuseppe, who has missed five games, does not have enough strength and range of motion to return yet.

 

Who's hot

Eric Staal has four goals and one assist in his past three games. ...Granlund has two goals and two assists in his past three games. ... Jordan Staal has five assists in his past four games. ... Faulk has three goals and two assists in his past five games.

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