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Wild Can Move Back Into Eighth With Win At Devils

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

NEW JERSEY – Earning a point against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday in a game the Minnesota Wild led in the waning seconds of regulation left a sour taste in the Wild's mouth.

With a final stop on its three-game road trip at the Prudential Center against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, the Wild can return to Minnesota on a high note, and with more points and a playoff spot in tow.

"We know we left a point behind in Ottawa," Nino Niederreiter said. "That's a game we should have closed out better than the way we did, but coming into tonight's game, we know what's at stake.

"Every point matters, and we just have to make sure we play our game, and our hockey, and do everything it takes to get a win."

With a Colorado Avalanche win on Wednesday, they overtook the Wild for the second wild card spot into the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Minnesota has played one fewer game than Colorado though, and any kind of Wild win on Thursday would see it move back into the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings.

The Wild and Avalanche play for the final time in the regular season next Saturday at Pepsi Center.

"Everyone is watching the race right now," Niederreiter said. "Especially for us we have to make sure what's going on. That's something I like. We see them winning, we know the pressure is a little higher, and things are good that way that we know we have to go out there, and do our best."

A victory on Thursday would also see the Wild return to Saint Paul having earned five of a possible six points on its current road trip.

"That's exactly what we talked about," interim Head Coach John Torchetti said after practice on Wednesday. " We talked about how we got three-out-of-four (points), and let's make it five-out-of-six, and it’s a good road trip."

The Wild is expected to go with the same lineup it did in Ottawa, with forward Jason Zucker, who has been a healthy scratch the past two games, drawing in. He skated on a line in practice on Wednesday with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle.

"It's been a great road trip so far," Zucker said. "They've played well these past two games, and they've done a great job. Hopefully we can get two more points (Thursday)."

Here is the Wild's projected lineup:

Jason ZuckerMikko KoivuCharlie Coyle

Zach PariseMikael GranlundThomas Vanek

Nino NiederreiterErik HaulaJustin Fontaine

Jordan SchroederJarret StollDavid Jones

Ryan SuterJared Spurgeon

Marco ScandellaMatt Dumba

Jonas BrodinMike Reilly

Devan Dubnyk

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