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Wild Warmup: Minnesota at New Jersey

Wild begins four-game road trip on Saturday against Devils

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com
The Essentials
Puck drop: 6:08 p.m. CT
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Listen: KFAN 100.3 FM

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter

 
The Opponent

The New Jersey Devils are off to a 1-2-1 start to the season and three of their games have been decided by a 2-1 score. They were victorious in one of those games, including their only home game thus far, a win against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. The Devils were involved in one of the bigger trades of the offseason when they traded defenseman Adam Larsson for forward Taylor Hall from the Edmonton Oilers. Hall, a 24-year-old left wing and No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, has two goals in four games.

 

Connections

• Wild assistant coach Scott Stevens played in 956 games with the Devils between 1991 and 2004, helping New Jersey to three Stanley Cups during that span. Stevens ranks among the club's all-time leaders in games played, shots on goal, penalty minutes, assists and points and is first in career plus-minus (plus-282). His jersey number four is one of four retired by the Devils.

• Wild forward Zach Parise was picked 17th overall by the Devils in the 2003 NHL Draft and played his first seven NHL seasons with New Jersey. He scored 194 goals and 410 points in 502 games before signing with the Wild in 2012.

 
Back-to-back

The game on Saturday is the first of back-to-back contests in the New York area; the Wild will play in Brooklyn on Sunday against the New York Islanders before continuing its road trip in Boston on Tuesday and in Buffalo on Thursday. The games this weekend mark the first of 13 back-to-back sets the Wild will play this season. Minnesota had 15 double dips last season, going 7-6-2 on the front half of those games last season and 5-7-3 on the second night.  

 
At the Rink

The Wild did not have a morning skate on Saturday morning in New Jersey and instead held off-ice meetings.

Defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who sustained an upper-body injury against Toronto on Thursday, is questionable. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau described him as "day-to-day" after the game and did not have an update as of Friday afternoon.

UPDATED (3 p.m. ET): The Wild have recalled forward Joel Eriksson Ek from Iowa and assigned defenseman Mike Reilly to its American Hockey League affiliate. 

UPDATED (5 p.m. ET): Eriksson Ek will indeed make his NHL debut, according to Boudreau. Eriksson Ek will center the Wild's fourth line, with Jason Zucker and Teemu Pulkkinen flanking him on each side.

"From what I've seen, I think he's got a lot of composure. I think he's going to do fine," Boudreau said. "As to whether they are going to be a good line, I guess time will tell. They can all skate, they'll all play with enthusiasm so we'll see how it goes."

Spurgeon and Erik Haula, who each missed practice on Friday, will not play and remain day-to-day.

Zac Dalpe will move up from the fourth line to take Haula's spot on the third grouping.

With Spurgeon out, Nate Prosser will enter the lineup for the first time this season. Matt Dumba will move up to Spurgeon's spot on the first defensive pairing. 

Here are the (new) projected lineups:

WILD

Zach Parise - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle

Mikael Granlund - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter - Zac Dalpe  - Chris Stewart

Jason Zucker - Joel Eriksson Ek - Teemu Pulkkinen

Ryan Suter - Matt Dumba

Marco Scandella - Christian Folin

Jonas Brodin - Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

DEVILS

Taylor Hall - Adam Henrique - Blake Speers

Beau Bennett - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri

Michael Cammalleri - Pavel Zacha - P.A. Parenteau

Sergey Kalinen - Vernon Fiddler - Devante Smith-Pelly

Andy Greene - Damon Severson

John Moore - Ben Lovejoy

Yohann Auvitu - Kyle Quincey

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

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