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Wild Concludes Preseason Saturday Against Winnipeg

Division rival comes to St. Paul five days before season opener in St. Louis

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild will wrap up its preseason schedule Saturday with a game against the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild is expected to play a lineup that could closely resemble that of the one it will send to St. Louis for the regular-season opener Thursday. 

 

Tweet from @mnwild: Tomorrow's projected lineups for #mnwild vs. #nhljets in Minnesota's final preseason game. #WPGvsMIN pic.twitter.com/glAjY5Nxs9

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau tinkered with his lines at Friday's practice, swapping right wings Jason Pominville and Chris Stewart. Pominville, who had been on the third line with Nino Niederreiter and Erik Haula, is expected to skate with Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund on the second line. 

Stewart, who had been with the Koivu group for most of this week, will be on the Haula line.

"It was kind of a, 'Well, let's see how this goes,'" Boudreau said. "It was just an idea that I had for reasons that I won't go into. But I just thought it might be a fit."

Minnesota has reduced its roster to 25 this week and is, theoretically, just two cuts away from icing the team that will play the Blues. 

That could put a premium on the game Saturday for youngsters Christoph Bertschy and Joel Eriksson Ek, who are among contenders for the final forward spots. 

Bertschy is expected to play right wing on the fourth line while Zac Dalpe, another contender for a roster spot, is scratched. Ryan Carter, in training camp as a professional tryout, remains out with an injury. 

On the back end, it comes down to numbers. Mike Reilly and Christian Folin appear locked in a battle for a roster spot, unless the Wild decides to keep eight defensemen. Both will play against the Jets as Matt Dumba and Nate Prosser get the night off.

Minnesota (2-3-0 on the preseason), which has three goaltenders on the roster, will start Devan Dubnyk, who has battled soreness this week throughout practice. Darcy Kuemper will be Dubnyk's backup. 

Winnipeg (4-2-0) is also expected to bring a roster that will mirror its opening night lineup. 

Among those listed on the travel roster are defensemen Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers, forwards Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little and goaltenders Ondrej Pavelec and Michael Hutchinson. The Jets -- who handed the Wild a 4-1 loss Sept. 29 in Winnipeg -- are also expected to bring several of their high-end youngsters, including No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft Patrick Laine, to St. Paul. 

Saturday night's contest will be broadcast on KFAN 100.3 and streamed live on FOX Sports GO.

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