Who: Minnesota Wild (9-7-2, 20 points, fourth place in Central) vs. Winnipeg Jets (9-10-2, 20 points, fifth place in Central Division)
Puck drop: 6:12 p.m. CT
Listen: KFAN FM 100.3
Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter
The Winnipeg Jets are in the midst of a five-game road swing but are still in search of their first victory on the trip. The Jets have been outscored 12-4 in the first three games, all against Eastern Conference foes. Two bright spots this season have been rookie forward Patrik Laine and forward Mark Scheifele. Laine leads the NHL with 12 goals while Scheifele's 23 points is one behind the total of NHL leader, Connor McDavid.
Video: Wild on Rivalry with Jets
• Wild assistant coach John Anderson spent two seasons as head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers from 2008-10 before the franchise relocated to Winnipeg.
• The Jets have three Minnesota natives on their roster, including captain Blake Wheeler (Plymouth) and defensemen Dustin Byfuglien (Roseau) and Mark Stuart (Rochester).
If you're attending tonight's game (or even if you plan on watching or listening), remember that the puck drops a little after 6 p.m. local time tonight. The Wild wants you to get plenty of rest for turkey and football tomorrow and for Friday's Black Friday matinee against Pittsburgh, which starts just after 3 p.m.
At the Rink
Minnesota will benefit from the return of defenseman Marco Scandella, who is eligible to (and indeed will) return from long-term injured reserve tonight. It's his first game since late October, when he sustained a high ankle sprain against the Buffalo Sabres and missed the next 10 games.
"He's a good player. He can skate, he's big, he moves pucks, so that's what he brings," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau.
Unlike Zach Parise and Erik Haula, who each missed three weeks with injury and returned to game action after just one practice, Scandella has had the benefit of time. He has been skating for more than a week and practiced with the team on a few occasions over the past several days.
The hope is that those reps will limit the amount of rust in Scandella's game.
Boudreau said on Tuesday that although Scandella won't be thrust onto the power play immediately, there is no plan to limit his minutes otherwise.
"Some people show us lots of rust, some people they're right back into it. He's practiced hard for a week, it's not like he just became available health-wise. He's been practicing hard for a few good practices now, so he should be ready," Boudreau said. "What I'm expecting from him ... just to make sure his game is simple. Usually you're so ramped up about playing if you haven't played in a while [that] you try to do too much. If he does his job, that's more than adequate."
Video: Bruce Boudreau Pregame vs Jets
Scandella should pair with Matt Dumba, meaning Mike Reilly, who has played in each of the past seven games, will be scratched.
Winnipeg is expected to get a boost with the return of forward Drew Stafford. The former University of North Dakota star has not played since Oct. 25 because of an upper-body injury.
Here are the projected lineups:
Zach Parise - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle
Mikael Granlund - Mikko Koivu - Tyler Graovac
Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville
Jason Zucker - Zack Mitchell - Chris Stewart
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella - Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin - Christian Folin
Nikolaj Ehlers - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler
Brandon Tanev - Nicolas Petan - Drew Stafford
Andrew Copp - Adam Lowry - Patrik Laine
Marko Dano - Alex Burmistrov - Chris Thorburn
Josh Morrissey - Dustin Byfuglien
Tobias Enstrom - Jacob Trouba
Mark Stuart - Ben Chiarot