BLUE JACKETS (19-21-3) at WILD (20-19-5)
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter will return to the lineup against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Xcel Energy Center on Monday.
Suter missed the past two games after being suspended by the NHL's Department of Player Safety for elbowing Steve Downie of the Pittsburgh Penguins in a game last Tuesday at Consol Energy Center.
The Wild ended a six-game losing streak and won each game Suter was out of the lineup.
"They played really well," Suter said. "[Goaltender Devan Dubnyk] played great, came in and made the saves he had to make and the team responded. Now we just have to keep this thing going."
For Suter, the suspension was the first of his 10-year NHL career. He said he was surprised to find out last Wednesday the League had handed down supplemental discipline.
"I don't hit that often; that was probably my first hit and it cost me two games," Suter said. "Probably won't be doing that anymore."
With Suter back, Wild coach Mike Yeo said he will try to spread the minutes of his defensemen more evenly. Suter leads the League in time on ice at 29:34, but with Marco Scandella back from injury and Matt Dumba playing well, Yeo said he feels comfortable mixing and matching his pairings.
"If everybody is on top of their game, that gives us, for the first time in a long time, the opportunity to roll all three pairs," Yeo said. "These things are always fluid and I know [assistant coach] Rick Wilson has a good pulse of what is going on back there, but that's the initial plan."
Columbus will get a player back as well as forward Jack Skille was activated off injured reserve Monday. He missed four games with a lower-body injury sustained Jan. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With Skille in, forward Jared Boll is expected to be a healthy scratch.
"Getting Jack in gives us some speed up there," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "It's never easy pulling guys out of the lineup, especially a guy like Jared, who has been with this organization and this team. But this is what happens when you have extra guys."
Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal for Columbus while Minnesota counters with Dubnyk.
Here are the projected lineups:
Scott Hartnell - Brandon Dubinsky - Josh Anderson
Nick Foligno - Ryan Johansen - Jeremy Morin
Matt Calvert - Alexander Wennberg - Cam Atkinson
Corey Tropp - Mark Letestu - Jack Skille
Jack Johnson - David Savard
Kevin Connauton - James Wisniewski
Dalton Prout - Fedor Tyutin
Scratched: Cory Goloubef, Jordan Leopold, Jared Boll
Injured: Artem Anisimov (torn triceps), Brian Gibbons (knee), Nathan Horton (back), Boone Jenner (back), Ryan Murray (knee)
Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville
Jason Zucker - Erik Haula - Thomas Vanek
Matt Cooke - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine
Nino Niederreiter - Charlie Coyle - Ryan Carter
Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella - Christian Folin
Jared Spurgeon - Matt Dumba
Scratched: Nate Prosser
Injured: Darcy Kuemper (lower body), Justin Falk (upper body), Mikael Granlund (wrist), Keith Ballard (head/face)
Status report: Granlund skated again Monday and could return to the lineup as soon as Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Who's hot: Johansen has a point in 13 straight games, the longest active streak in the NHL. … Dubnyk is 2-0-0 in two starts since being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes last Wednesday. He has stopped 43 of 44 shots in those games.