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Wild Attempts to Get Back on Track Against Coyotes

Loss to New Jersey on Tuesday was just second in regulation since Nov. 29

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Wild will host the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday as it tries to get back on track after a disappointing 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. 

Minnesota led 2-0 at one point in the game and had a 3-2 advantage in the third period before the Devils scored a pair of goals, including the winner with 2:17 remaining.

It was the Wild's first regulation loss since New Year's Eve and just its second over the past 20 games. 

"Until they scored their first goal, we were really good," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday. "The third period was a trainwreck. But I'd say the first 35 minutes of the game, we were very good.

"That's been our strength, 5-on-5 defending. But in the third period, it didn't go the way we wanted it to."

The Wild will be without defenseman Jonas Brodin, who is expected to miss upwards of a month with a fractured finger. Brodin sustained the injury during the second period of the loss to the Devils. 

With Brodin out, defenseman Nate Prosser is expected to see a bulk of the minutes -- at least on Thursday. Prosser has played in 17 games this season, mostly as an injury replacement. 

"You never hope for an injury; it's a bummer that [Brodin] went down," Prosser said. "I just gotta be ready to go. After last night, we gotta find out groove again right from the drop of the puck."

Charlie Coyle and Eric Staal (maintenance) also missed practice on Wednesday but are expected to play. 

The Coyotes will be playing on the second half of back-to-back games following a 6-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night at MTS Centre. Arizona has lost its past three games and is 2-4-1 since the calendar turned to January. 

Arizona is led offensively by forward Radim Vrbata and his 29 points. Vrbata is the only Coyotes player to have reached double digit goals this season (10).

Forward Martin Hanzal is questionable after he missed Wednesday's game because of an off-ice family issue.

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