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From the Rink: Coyle a game-time decision against Devils

Wild forward activated from injured reserve after missing nearly six weeks of action

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

ST. PAUL -- Wild forward Charlie Coyle is inching closer to a return to the lineup after another day on the ice during the team's morning skate before a game with the New Jersey Devils on Monday.

Coyle, who fractured his leg in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks almost six weeks ago, has been a regular on the ice in recent days but has yet to take part in an official practice with the club, something he is expected to do Tuesday.

Still, his presence in the dressing room before other lineup regulars lends to the notion that he is at least a possibility for tonight's game. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau didn't deny it either.

"Maybe, maybe not. There might be others. 7:05 you will find out," Boudreau said with a smile.

Video: Wild pregame vs New Jersey Devils

UPDATED: Coyle has been activated from injured reserve, an indication that he is expected to play Monday night. Zach Parise has been placed on long-term injured reserve after undergoing successful microdiscectomy surgery on Oct. 24.

Even without a practice, Coyle has been putting in plenty of work. With four games this week, Boudreau cancelled a scheduled practice on Sunday to give his players a break. Coyle came in anyway, disappointed the first practice with teammates didn't take place yesterday.

"I still came and skated, I had to get a good skate in no matter what," Coyle said. "It would have been nice to practice with the guys and all that but that's how it goes sometimes, so no worries."

Coyle said Monday he's improving every day, and the mental part of coming back may be the last true final hurdle before a return to the lineup. 

"I'm moving comfortable enough, not thinking about it too much, so I'm on the right track," Coyle said. "I just need to feel good, feel like I've got my legs. I just want to make sure I'm doing it the right way and make sure I'm 100 percent, so that's all I'm focusing on right now."

If Coyle plays on Monday, look for the Wild to ease him back into the lineup by playing him on the fourth line to limit his minutes. At the very least, it looks like Coyle will be back in the lineup before the end of the week. 

For Minnesota, a return to home ice after a 3-1 loss in Washington on Saturday is a welcome, albeit brief, respite. After a disappointing 3-3 homestand last month, the Wild returned to Xcel Energy Center last week and scored a pair of victories over quality teams in Philadelphia and Nashville.

Minnesota is home Monday before leaving on a one-game trip to Buffalo. A Black Friday matinee back in St. Paul against Colorado is on the docket before a crucial two-game road trip against Central Division foes St. Louis and Winnipeg begins Saturday at Scottrade Center. 

It's certainly cliché, but Boudreau said getting back on track on home ice will be a key component if the Wild hopes to continue its ascent up the Central standings.

"I think every team that's going to be good has to win at home to make it a tough place for other teams to come in here and visit and it was a good start last week," Boudreau said. "We're above .500 at home now, but now you gotta keep doing it."

Minnesota will try and continue its solid record at home against Eastern teams this season; the Wild has earned at least one point in all five home games against Eastern Conference teams and is 4-0-1 in those contests.

"We need to continue doing that. This rink is a big part of our success every year," said Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. "We play well here. The atmosphere is great. I always say we can overwhelm teams when we get going here.

"We always talk about trying to use that and every game that we play at home is another opportunity to have that as an advantage. That first homestand we didn't do that as well as we would've liked. We got two in a row here so we have to try to keep it going."

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD

Marcus Foligno - Eric Staal - Nino Niederreiter 

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund

Daniel Winnik - Joel Eriksson Ek - Luke Kunin

Tyler Ennis - Matt Cullen - Charlie Coyle

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba

Kyle Quincey - Mike Reilly

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock

DEVILS

Taylor Hall - Nico Hischier - Kyle Palmieri

Pavel Zacha - Travis Zajac - Jesper Bratt

Miles Wood - Brian Boyle - Drew Stafford

Adam Henrique - Blake Coleman - Brian Gibbons

Andy Greene - Steven Santini

John Moore - Damon Severson

Will Butcher - Ben Lovejoy

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

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