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Penguins forward Jokinen sidelined against Wild

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen has been ruled out Saturday against the Minnesota Wild after sustaining an upper-body injury Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Penguins recalled former Wild forward Andrew Ebbett from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Friday and he will play against his former team. Ebbett has 12 goals and 25 assists with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he is riding an 11-game point streak dating to March 7.

Ebbett has played in seven games with Pittsburgh this season and has one assist. He scored eight goals and 14 points in his only season with the Wild in 2009-10.

Bylsma said he didn't believe Jokinen's injury was serious and he is considered day-to-day. With the Metropolitan Division clinched and their positioning for the Stanley Cup Playoffs virtually locked, Bylsma said getting Jokinen healthy for the playoffs is the primary concern.

"It's not long-term at this point," Bylsma said.

Bylsma said forward Joe Vitale returned to Pittsburgh for evaluation of a mid-body injury. Vitale has one goal and 13 assists in 53 games this season but hasn't played since March 20.

Minnesota will make a couple of tweaks to its bottom six, inserting forward Cody McCormick into the lineup. He has played in nine games for the Wild since being acquired with forward Matt Moulson from the Buffalo Sabres prior to the NHL Trade Deadline but has been scratched the past three games. Wild coach Mike Yeo said McCormick will get his first chance to play center with the Wild after playing right wing in his previous nine games.

"We finally had a practice in Chicago, so it was a good opportunity to see him there, and see how he played in D-zone coverage and down low," Yeo said. "Since he's been with us, he's practiced on the wing, so to give him an opportunity to get a little bit more familiar with our D-zone and systematically, the rest of the ice wasn't a big change for him."

Minnesota is expected to have forward Nino Niederreiter back in the lineup after he missed the game Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks. He was hit up high during the first period Monday by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin. Niederreiter missed the remainder of that game and was held out against Chicago as a precaution. He will skate on the right side of McCormick on the fourth line.

Here are the projected lineups for the Penguins and Wild:


Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Lee Stempniak

Beau Bennett - Andrew Ebbett - James Neal

Taylor Pyatt - Brandon Sutter - Brian Gibbons

Tanner Glass - Craig Adams - Jayson Megna

Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin

Olli Maatta - Matt Niskanen

Deryk Engelland - Rob Scuderi

Jeff Zatkoff

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres

Injured: Jussi Jokinen (upper body), Chris Conner (broken foot), Pascal Dupuis (knee), Marcel Goc (foot), Kris Letang (stroke), Evgeni Malkin (foot), Joe Vitale (upper body), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)


Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Matt Moulson - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville

Matt Cooke - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine

Stephane Veilleux - Cody McCormick - Nino Niederreiter

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Nate Prosser

Marco Scandella - Jonathon Blum

Ilya Bryzgalov

John Curry

Scratched: Mike Rupp, Dany Heatley, Christian Folin

Injured: Nino Niederreiter (upper body), Jason Zucker (quad), Mikael Granlund (upper body), Keith Ballard (lower body), Clayton Stoner (knee), Darcy Kuemper (upper body), Josh Harding (illness), Niklas Backstrom (abdominal)

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