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Wild at Jets preview

Minnesota looks to avoid worst start in its history; Morrissey, Kulikov return for Winnipeg

by Darrin Bauming / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

WILD (0-2-0) at JETS (2-2-0)

8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Minnesota Wild will try to avoid opening a season with three straight losses in regulation for the first time when they play the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Thursday.

Since entering the NHL in 2000-01, the Wild have never started a season 0-3-0. They began their inaugural season with two straight losses and a tie, followed by another loss, and went 0-1-2 to begin 2013-14.

Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk will start his third straight game. He's 0-2-0 with a 3.58 goals-against average and .887 save percentage.

Defensemen Josh Morrissey and Dmitry Kulikov will return for the Jets. Morrissey missed two games because of an upper-body injury and Kulikov did not play in a 4-1 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday because of the birth of his second child, a daughter.

The Wild have won six straight games against the Jets. Minnesota was 5-0-0 against Winnipeg last season, outscoring it 18-8.

 

Players to watch

Jets forward Patrik Laine has six points (one goal, five assists) in a four-game point streak to start the season. 

Wild defenseman Ryan Suter has three points (one goal, two assists) in two games this season.

 

They said it

"I still want to score. I would still want more goals than assists. But points are points. … I think last year I was just stressed about contracts and all of that kind of stuff. Now I have it in my pocket, so now I can just play hockey and not worry about that." -- Jets forward Patrik Laine

"God, I wish I could tell you because the year before that they kicked our butt all the time. I just think it's hockey in the NHL is so tight that sometimes a team gets a little bit of confidence against another team and they get success." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on Minnesota going 5-0-0 against Winnipeg last season

 

Wild projected lineup

Ryan Donato -- Eric Staal -- Mats Zuccarello

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Kevin Fiala

Zach Parise -- Luke Kunin -- Jordan Greenway

Marcus Foligno -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Ryan Hartman

Ryan Suter -- Matt Dumba

Jonas Brodin -- Jared Spurgeon

Carson Soucy -- Brad Hunt

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Victor Rask, Nick Seeler

Injured: Greg Pateryn (bilateral core)

 

Jets projected lineup

Patrik Laine -- Mark Scheifele -- Blake Wheeler

Kyle Connor -- Andrew Copp -- Nikolaj Ehlers

Gabriel Bourque -- Adam Lowry -- Mark Letestu

Mathieu Perreault -- Jack Roslovic -- Mason Appleton

Josh Morrissey -- Neal Pionk

Ville Heinola -- Tucker Poolman

Dmitry Kulikov -- Anthony Bitetto

Connor Hellebuyck

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: David Gustafsson, Sami Niku, Carl Dahlstrom

Injured: Bryan Little (concussion), Nathan Beaulieu (upper body)

Suspended: Dustin Byfuglien

 

Status report

The Jets reassigned defenseman Nelson Nogier to Manitoba of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

 

Stat pack

Wheeler needs one point to reach 700 in the NHL. … Winnipeg has allowed the first goal in each of its four games this season. … Scheifele has six points (one goal, five assists). … Ehlers has five points (one goal, four assists).

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