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Parise expected to return for Wild against Predators

by Dan Myers /

PREDATORS (27-9-4) at WILD (18-16-5)


Season series: The Nashville Predators defeated the Minnesota Wild 6-5 in overtime at Xcel Energy Center Dec. 20. Shea Weber, Craig Smith, Matt Cullen and Roman Josi each had two points for Nashville, and Zach Parise had two goals and an assist for Minnesota. Nine of the past 13 games between the have been decided by one goal.

Predators team scope: Cullen and Taylor Beck were activated from injured reserve and practiced on Friday, with each expected in the lineup. Beck has four goals and four assists in 28 games and skated on a line with Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson. Cullen, a native of Moorhead, Minn., was with Calle Jarnkrok and Olli Jokinen, and has four goals in 25 games. To make room on the roster, the Predators reassigned forward Miikka Salomaki to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. Goalie Pekka Rinne is expected to start.

Wild team scope: Minnesota is expected to get Parise, its leading scorer, back in the lineup after he missed the past two games while spending time with his father, former NHL player J.P. Parise, who passed away Wednesday. With Parise out, forward Jason Zucker has had success with Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville, scoring three goals in the past two games. Coach Mike Yeo said that line will remain intact, as Parise skated with Erik Haula and Thomas Vanek Friday. Defenseman Marco Scandella did not practice and remains day-to-day. With goalie Darcy Kuemper out for at least the next three games with a lower-body injury, Niklas Backstrom is expected to start.

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