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Wild Begins Three-Game Road Trip in Pittsburgh

Minnesota begins stretch of 10 games in 17 days on Thursday

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

PITTSBURGH -- The Minnesota Wild will open a three-game road trip on Thursday when it plays the defending Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.

The Wild may have Erik Haula back in the fold; the injured center, who has missed the past seven games with a foot injury, practiced with the team on Wednesday in St. Paul before the flight to the Steel City. 

How he feels Thursday morning after his first practice will decide whether he scratches in. 

If he does, expect him to center the third line with Jason Zucker and Zack Mitchell, who was recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Wednesday. If Mitchell plays, it would mark his NHL debut. 

The Wild also recalled forward Christoph Bertschy and defenseman Mike Reilly from Iowa. Reilly is likely to re-join the lineup immediately and skated with Jared Spurgeon at practice.

Bertschy, along with Chris Stewart and Joel Eriksson Ek took alternating rushes on the fourth line on Wednesday; one of them will likely be the odd man out against the Penguins. 

Pittsburgh, which is currently on a seven-game point streak (6-0-1), recalled forward Tom Sestito from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL on Wednesday, while optioning defenseman Chad Rehwedel.

Sestito has one assist in seven games with the Penguins and is likely to play a fourth-line role. 

The Penguins have four players with at least 10 points so far this season, including Evgeni Malkin, who leads Pittsburgh with 13 points. Sidney Crosby has a team-leading eight goals despite playing in just seven games.

Moorhead native Matt Cullen, a former Wild, is off to a good start, scoring three goals and chipping in six assists through 13 games.

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