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Wild without Scandella, Brodin against Sabres

by Dan Myers

SABRES (3-12-2) at WILD (7-7-0)


ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Twenty-four hours after the Anaheim Ducks announced Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin had the mumps, it appears the Minnesota Wild will be dealing with a similar illness for the second time this season.

The Wild host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.

Wild coach Mike Yeo said following the morning skate Thursday that defensemen Marco Scandella and Jonas Brodin are ill and showing similar symptoms to those exhibited by defensemen Christian Folin and Keith Ballard earlier this season.

Ballard confirmed to the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Nov. 5 that he tested positive for the virus. Folin tested negative for mumps but had similar symptoms. Folin missed five games and Ballard missed nine, meaning the Wild could be without two of their top four defensemen for an extended period.

"This came from somewhere else, but obviously there's the possibility that it's inside our locker room right now," Yeo said. "Whatever we have to do to make sure we clean it up and make sure nobody else gets this."

The St. Louis Blues also have had the mumps manifest itself in their locker room, and Yeo said that NHL linesman Steve Miller, who was assigned to officiate Minnesota's game Tuesday at the New Jersey Devils, missed that game due to mumps-like symptoms.

"You start to wonder and start to worry, is this sitting inside anyone else waiting to come out too?" Yeo said.

The bad news about Scandella and Brodin comes on a day when the Wild received good news on Jared Spurgeon, who will return to the lineup after missing five games with a shoulder injury.

Forward Zach Parise (concussion) will miss his fourth consecutive game but was on the ice participating in normal drills and continues to get closer to a return, perhaps as soon as Saturday against the Dallas Stars.

The Wild have scored two goals in the past three games so Yeo juggled his forward group in an effort to get struggling players like Thomas Vanek (one goal), Mikko Koivu (three points) and Mikael Granlund (no points in the past four games) going.

"These aren't set in stone, but when things aren't going well you have to try new things," Yeo said.

Buffalo had an optional skate Thursday with about half the team in attendance. Goaltender Jhonas Enroth was first off the ice and will start against the Wild, confirming what coach Ted Nolan said Wednesday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Matt Moulson - Zemgus Girgensons - Tyler Ennis

Marcus Foligno - Drew Stafford - Chris Stewart

Patrick Kaleta - Torrey Mitchell - Brian Gionta

Nicolas Deslauriers - Cody Hodgson - Cody McCormick

Andre Benoit - Tyler Myers

Nikita Zadorov - Rasmus Ristolainen

Mike Weber - Tyson Strachan

Jhonas Enroth

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Brian Flynn, Andrej Meszaros

Injured: Josh Gorges (lower body)


Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter - Mikael Granlund - Charlie Coyle

Thomas Vanek - Erik Haula - Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Carter - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Keith Ballard - Christian Folin

Matt Dumba - Nate Prosser

Darcy Kuemper

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Stu Bickel

Injured: Zach Parise (concussion), Matt Cooke (lower body), Jonas Brodin (illness), Marco Scandella (illness), Josh Harding (foot)

Status report: Kaleta will play his first NHL game since Oct. 10, 2013. That night Kaleta was suspended 10 games for an elbow to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson. He served his suspension, was waived, sent to the American Hockey League and then injured his knee a month later, which cost him the rest of the season. Kaleta was challenging for a roster spot during the preseason when he broke several bones after he was hit in the face by a slap shot. ... Spurgeon leads all Wild defensemen with two goals in nine games and is a plus-7. His return is expected to help bolster a Wild offense that scored more than one goal once in the five games he was missing from the lineup.

Who's hot: Stafford has a point in three of his past four games, including goals in consecutive games Nov. 5 and 7. ... Schroeder leads the Iowa Wild of the AHL with 11 points in 12 games this season. He makes his Minnesota Wild debut Thursday.

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