The Wild utilized a different top six on defense last game for the first time this season, but the usual crew will be reunited Thursday in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.
Greg Pateryn will reenter the lineup after missing the 4-3 loss to the Coyotes Tuesday due to illness.
“It kind of snuck on me before bed [Monday],” Pateryn said. “Just kind of progressively got a little worse. Was able to get it out of my system in a day, which is nice. I got my energy back, so I’m looking forward to get back in.”
Pateryn was absent for a deflating loss in which the Wild blew a two-goal lead in the third period to Arizona, but recalibrating against a competitive Blue Jackets club isn't necessarily going to be easy for the Wild.
“We have to be in their faces and not let them skate,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “If we let them go from blue line to blue line unmolested, then we’re going to be in our end all night and we don’t want to be there. I think it’s a similar situation to Winnipeg’s game, so it’s going to be a man’s game. There’s going to be a lot of physicality.
“I think winning battles is going to be a premium if you want to succeed tonight. And every time we play these guys, it always seems to be a close game. We haven’t really been on the positive end of it, but it’s been always really close. So that’s what I anticipate tonight.”
No.1 netminder Devan Dubnyk will be back between the pipes for the Wild, his second start in three days after a recent lull that included a five-day hiatus due to downtime in the schedule and a stomach bug.
“I want to get playing,” said Dubnyk, who made just 10 saves in that loss to the Coyotes. “I try not to fuss over it because it’s one of those things that’s out of your control. When you can get into a rhythm of playing every other day, you kind of roll with it.”
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Nino Niederreiter
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Nick Seeler-Greg Pateryn
2-2-1: How the Wild has fared against the Eastern Conference this season.
.922: Dubnyk’s save percentage in his career vs. Columbus.
4: Goals for winger Zach Parise in his last five games.
9: Points in the last seven games for captain Mikko Koivu.
4: Assists for defenseman Jared Spurgeon in the past two games.
About the Blue Jackets:
With 14 wins and 30 points, Columbus is second in the Metropolitan Division but the team has been up and down of late. It’s 2-2 in its last four, this after the Blue Jackets won five of their previous six. Winger Cam Atkinson paces the group in goals with 15, while winger Artemi Panarin has a team-high 26 points. Atkinson has 14 points during an eight-game point streak. Overall, the Blue Jackets rank fifth in scoring with 3.50 goals-per-game.