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Wild, Coyotes ready to meet for first time

by Brian Compton

WILD (4-3-1) at COYOTES (3-4-2)


Season series: This is the first of three meetings between the teams. The Coyotes went 2-1-1 against the Wild in 2011-12.

Big story: Phoenix forward Raffi Torres made his season debut Saturday night after serving a 21-game suspension for his hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa during last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. Torres received a standing ovation from the crowd prior to the 2-0 win against the Dallas Stars.

"These fans are great," Torres said. "They've been supporting me throughout this whole ordeal so it's nice to feel welcomed and get back at it."

Team scope:

Wild: Will Monday be the night when Kyle Brodziak gets going?

Brodziak enters this contest with no goals and just one assist in Minnesota’s first eight games. The 28-year-old center is coming off a career season with the Wild that saw him notch 22 goals and 22 assists in 82 games. Three of those goals came against the Coyotes.

"Brodzy's line is so important to us, not necessarily from even an offensive standpoint," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "How do we help them get to their game, how do we help them get some more offensive zone time?"

Coyotes: Phoenix used its stifling defense to frustrate the Stars on Saturday night, as they limited Dallas to just 17 shots on goal. Mike Smith stopped them all for his first shutout of the season as the Coyotes pulled back within a game of the .500 mark.

"He looked like Smitty out there," coach Dave Tippett said of his goaltender. "It's the first game I'd say he looked confident all year."

Added Phoenix captain Shane Doan: "We felt we've played solid for stretches of games, we just haven't finished a full 60 minutes."

Who’s hot: Minnesota’s top line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley has combined for 23 points. Parise leads the club with nine points (five goals, four assists). … Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata is averaging a point per game, with three goals and six assists in nine contests.

Injury report: The Wild placed defenseman Jared Spurgeon (foot) on injured reserve Sunday. … Phoenix forward Steve Sullivan (lower body) is day-to-day. Forward Matthew Lombardi (upper body) and defenseman Rostislav Klesla (lower body) are on injured reserve.

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