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Fresh Faces In Pittsburgh

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

Already missing forwards Zach Parise, Justin Fontaine, and Tyler Graovac due to injuries, the Minnesota Wild will be without Erik Haula on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Haula is sick, and did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh, but Head Coach Mike Yeo said it's possible Haula rejoins the team in Boston, though it will depend on how he's feeling.

"He wasn't going to be ok to play, and we didn't want to bring him because obviously we're short as it is right now, and we don't want something that spreads to the rest of the group," Head Coach Mike Yeo said.

With Haula out, the Wild recalled forward Michael Keranen from Iowa. The 25-year-old left wing is expected to slot in on a line with Charlie Coyle and Jordan Schroeder, and make his NHL debut against the Penguins.

"It will give him the chance to play the type of game he needs to play, and show what he can do," Yeo said of Keranen. "He's been with us for almost a year and a half now, and I give him credit, because he could have went back to Europe. Things didn't work out, he probably had expectations of coming up and filling in right away, but he stuck with it."

Kernanen was recalled once last season, but did not get into a game. He's played 83 games for Iowa since coming to North America, scoring 14 goals and adding 31 assists.

"I'm really excited. Obviously I've been waiting for a while, so it's nice to be here," Kernanen said. "My goal is to play here in the NHL, so that's why I'm here."

It will be a tough test for both Keranen and Brett Bulmer, who was recalled on Monday for the second time in three days, and is expected to make his season debut against Pittsburgh. Bulmer is expected to play on a line with Chris Porter and Ryan Carter.

"Identity-wise, it should give him the chance to play the type of game that he needs to show that he can play at this level," Yeo said.

After feeling like it could have played a better game in Dallas, the Wild sees an opportunity to turn its current four-game road trip into a very productive one.

"When you don't have the best performances but you still get points it's a good thing, especially when you have guys out," Jason Zucker said. "We're just looking to come in here and play a couple of good games."

The Wild fell behind the Stars 1-0 in the first period, and erased two one-goal deficits before losing in overtime, 3-2. In six of its seven road games this season, Minnesota has either trailed in the first period or given up the game's first goal. 

"The hometown crowd definitely helps you get up, and get ready," Zucker said. "You have them screaming and yelling for you the whole time, and you know you're at home.

"That definitely helps you a bit, but we can't let that change the way we start games. If we're going to start games well and hard, we need to do that on the road and at home."


When Marco Scandella rejoined the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, he told Devan Dubnyk he was going to score a goal.

Scandella did, and continued a stretch of great hockey when on the ice this season. He shared after practice in Pittsburgh that the inspiration has come from his ailing father, Francesco, whom Scandella was with in Montreal while away from the Wild for a week.

"I owe it to him to play my best hockey, and that's what I'm going to do when I come out every shift," Scandella said. "I just have to keep growing as a player, and growing as a person. It's a tough situation, but I just have to keep playing hard."

Scandella got a chance to say his goodbyes to his father, whom he credits so much for where he's been able to get today.

"My dad doesn’t have much time left, so I’m really happy that the organization let me go back home to see him and say goodbye to him," Scandella said.

Back with the Wild, Scandella said he is here to stay. He's been active on social media this season, getting involved with Hockey Fights Cancer; a cause that has personally impacted his family.

"It's something that affects a lot of families, a lot of people, and it's not something that's easy to deal with," Scandella said. "Talking about it maybe helps a little bit, and that's why I've been a little bit more vocal this year."

Scandella said he was pumped to rejoin the team, and being around his teammates has provided some relief.

And while Scandella said he wishes the Wild could have come back and defeated Dallas, the goal he scored was very special.

"I definitely scored that goal for him," he said.

Here is the Wild's projected lineup:

Jason ZuckerMikko KoivuNino Niederreiter

Thomas VanekMikael GranlundJason Pominville

Michael Keranen – Charlie CoyleJordan Schroeder

Chris PorterRyan CarterBrett Bulmer

Ryan SuterJared Spurgeon

Jonas BrodinMatt Dumba

Nate ProsserMarco Scandella

Devan Dubnyk

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