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Wild to skate seven defensemen against Predators

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- With their position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs secure, the Minnesota Wild will play seven defensemen Sunday in their final regular season game against the Nashville Predators.

Forward Kyle Brodziak is out with a minor lower-body injury. Coach Mike Yeo said Brodziak could have played through the ailment, but the extra days off should put Brodziak at close to full strength.

"He certainly could have played but we just want to give him every opportunity to be 100 percent," Yeo said.

With Brodziak out, the Wild will slide wing Nino Niederreiter to center and suit up defenseman Clayton Stoner, who has missed the past 10 games with a knee injury. Otherwise, the Wild are not expected to rest any key players. Minnesota is 6-0-1 in its past seven games and Yeo wants the Wild to keep their current edge.

Niederreiter has never played center in the NHL, but has in the World Junior Tournament.

"Big body, it's something we actually contemplated last week," Yeo said.

Nashville did not skate Sunday after its 7-5 win Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Here are the projected lineups for the Predators and Wild:


Matt Cullen - MIke Fisher - Patric Hornqvist

Gabriel Bourque - Calle Jarnkrok - Craig Smith

Rich Clune - Paul Gaustad - Eric Nystrom

Nick Spaling - Colin Wilson - Viktor Stalberg

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Victor Bartley - Seth Jones

Carter Hutton

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Michael Del Zotto

Injured: Patrick Eaves (lower body)


Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Matt Moulson - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville

Matt Cooke - Nino Niederreiter

Stephane Veilleux - Cody McCormick - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Nate Prosser

Marco Scandella - Jonathon Blum

Clayton Stoner

Ilya Bryzgalov

John Curry

Scratched: Jake Dowell, Mike Rupp (suspended), Christian Folin

Injured: Mikael Granlund (upper body), Kyle Brodziak (lower body), Dany Heatley (lower body), Jason Zucker (quad), Keith Ballard (groin), Darcy Kuemper (upper body), Josh Harding (illness), Niklas Backstrom (abdominal)

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