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Bruce Boudreau set for Wild regular-season opener

Will be behind Minnesota bench against St. Louis after spending past four-plus seasons in Anaheim

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

WILD (0-0-0) at BLUES (1-0-0)

8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, FS-MW, NHL.TV

ST. LOUIS -- Coach Bruce Boudreau will be making his regular-season debut for the Minnesota Wild when they play the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Thursday.

Boudreau was fired from the Anaheim Ducks after last season, and replaced John Torchetti in Minnesota, who was fired after the season. He was 208-104-40 in four-plus seasons with the Ducks, but was more focused on the Blues, who opened Wednesday with a 5-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"They did control the puck and they're a good team," Boudreau said. "If you look at the history of the St. Louis Blues under Ken, that's the way they play. They're usually big players that have the puck and it's in the other team's zone whether they play Chicago or not."

Blues associate coach Mike Yeo will face his former team for the first time since being fired on Feb. 13. Yeo will replace Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who is retiring after the season, for the 2017-18 season.

Yeo went 173-132-44 in four-plus seasons with the Wild, but was fired after a 1-11-2 streak.

"I would be a liar if I said that I wasn't aware of that game as soon as the schedule came out," Yeo said. "I think the fact that it was going to be a home opener was going to make it exciting enough, but then to have it be your former team, I think, adds a little more to the rivalry and to the excitement level.

"... You pour your heart and soul into something, and all of the sudden it's gone, for sure there's going to be a lot of emotion. Once that sting wore off and I had a chance to reflect and look back on it, I just have nothing but great memories now and gratitude."

Forwards Eric Staal and Teemu Pulkkinen will also make their debut for the Wild Thursday.

Staal, who spent the first 11-plus seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes before being traded to the New York Rangers on Feb. 28 last season, signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract.

"It feels like a long training camp and now watching some of the games last night, getting the season started for us tonight is great," Staal said. "I'm just looking forward to getting the ball rolling and having a great start to the season."

Pulkkinen, claimed off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, was on the team plane to St. Louis on Wednesday, fresh off of getting a crash course on his new team.

"It's been a crazy couple days, but at the same time, nothing too crazy," Pulkkinen said. "I flew into Minnesota and now with the team here. Now just play hockey. Nothing special."


Wild projected lineup

Zach Parise -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Mikael Granlund -- Mikko Koivu -- Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter -- Erik Haula -- Chris Stewart

Jason Zucker -- Zac Dalpe -- Teemu Pulkkinen

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella -- Matt Dumba

Mike Reilly -- Jonas Brodin

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Christian Folin, Nate Prosser

Injured: None


Blues projected lineup

Robby Fabbri -- Paul Stastny -- Alexander Steen

David Perron -- Jori Lehtera -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Magnus Paajarvi -- Patrik Berglund -- Nail Yakupov

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Ty Rattie, Dmitrij Jaskin

Injured: Jaden Schwartz (elbow)


Status report

Gunnarsson and Paajarvi will make their debuts Thursday; both were healthy scratches Wednesday in Chicago and will take the places of Bortuzzo and Jaskin, respectively. ... Allen will start on back-to-back days after making 17 saves Wednesday in Chicago.


Who's hot

Tarasenko, Shattenkirk and Stastny each had three points for the Blues Wednesday, with Tarasenko scoring two goals. Steen had two assists. ... Parise needs one more goal for 300 in his career.

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