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Wild expect fight from Jets; Byfuglien out for season

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG -- The Minnesota Wild will look to move one step closer to a return visit to the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they visit the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

The Wild have 92 points and hold the Western Conference's first wild-card spot after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 at home Saturday. The game against the Jets will be the final road game of the season for the Wild, who are 4-1-2 in their past seven road games.

"Obviously we still need points," said Wild captain Mikko Koivu, who has four multi-point games in his past 10. "That's the most important thing, but it's also talking about the processing, getting our game better and getting better as a team. Our goal is to make the playoffs and be at our best when the playoffs start."

Wild coach Mike Yeo expects a difficult challenge from the Jets, who are out of postseason contention.

"I see a very strong work ethic," Yeo said of the Jets. "I see a team playing with a lot of pride right now."

Yeo confirmed the Wild will dress the same lineup that faced Pittsburgh.

Injuries continue to devour the Jets roster. Coach Paul Maurice announced after the morning skate Monday that forward/defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will miss the final week of the regular season with a muscle tear. Byfuglien left the Jets' 4-2 win Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second period and did not return after he sustained the injury.

Jets captain Andrew Ladd is doubtful with an undisclosed injury, and it is possible he will not play any remaining games this season. Center Bryan Little did not participate in the morning skate, but will play against Minnesota. Maurice also confirmed forward Evander Kane would return to the lineup after he was a healthy scratch Saturday.

"I was obviously disappointed, but that was [Maurice's] decision," Kane said. "That was it."

Maurice did not divulge any additional information about his reason for scratching Kane at Toronto.

"I'm done with it," Maurice said of the Kane situation. "I've given it enough emotion and attention as I need to give it. It has been handled well and we move on."

The Jets recalled forward Carl Klingberg from the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League to supplement their lineup. Klingberg has 20 goals and 18 assists in 62 AHL games this season and will dress against Minnesota.

Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will start for the Wild. Goaltender Michael Hutchinson will start for the Jets in his NHL debut.

Here are the projected lineups for the Wild and Jets:


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: Jake Dowell, Christian Folin, Dany Heatley, Mike Rupp

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


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik

Eric Tangradi - Olli Jokinen - Blake Wheeler

Evander Kane - Eric O'DellDevin Setoguchi

Carl Klingberg - Jim Slater - Anthony Peluso

Tobias Enstrom - Paul Postma

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Adam Pardy - Zach Redmond

Michael Hutchinson

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: Ben Chiarot, Matt Halischuk

Injured: Zach Bogosian (upper body), Dustin Byfuglien (muscle tear), Grant Clitsome (back), Keaton Ellerby (lower body), Andrew Ladd (undisclosed), Al Montoya (undisclosed), Mark Scheifele (knee), Chris Thorburn (talus), James Wright (ankle)

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