The Wild will have a different look to its lineup when it opens a five-game homestand Monday at Xcel Energy Center against the San Jose Sharks.

That’s because center Victor Rask will return after missing 12 games with a lower-body injury.

 

 

“I didn’t think this injury was going to take that long,” Rask said. “But it did. I’ve been working hard off the ice, and obviously it’s going to be fun to get back in the lineup.”

Rask played 10 games before getting hurt Feb.12 against the Philadelphia Flyers when he stepped on a puck. Before then, he chipped in a goal and an assist.

“I told him yesterday he hasn’t had a lot of success but with [13] games left, you could change everybody’s mind,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Today’s the start, so hopefully he’s ready to play.”

After facing the Sharks, the Wild will host the Dallas Stars, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Colorado Avalanche – a tough stretch that for a team that’s struggled at home this season, with the Wild’s record 14-13-6 in St. Paul. But the Wild is 1-0-1 in its last two home games.

“We’re playing one of the elite teams in the league, a team that’s playing well that has a reason to play well,” Boudreau said. “It’s going to be a great test for us, and it’s a great test at home. … If we could somehow manage to be successful on this homestand, I think it’ll put us in good stead for the playoffs.”  

Projected lineup:

Jordan Greenway-Eric Staal-Jason Zucker

Zach Parise-Victor Rask-Kevin Fiala

Ryan Donato-Joel Eriksson Ek-Pontus Aberg

Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J.T. Brown

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Greg Pateryn

Anthony Bitetto-Brad Hunt

Devan Dubnyk

Key numbers:

14: Points for the Wild since Feb.21.

26:54: Average ice time for defenseman Ryan Suter.

1: Home win for the Wild in its last eight games at Xcel Energy Center.

41: Career points for Sharks center Joe Thornton in 47 games vs. the Wild.

9-2-1: The Wild’s record against the Sharks in its last 12 games in St. Paul.

About the Sharks:

San Jose is second in the Pacific Division, just a point shy of the Calgary Flames for the top spot. The Sharks have won four in a row, scoring at least four goals in three of those games. They’ve won both meetings with the Wild this season, earning a 4-0 win the last time out Dec.18. San Jose’s offense ranks second in goals-per-game at 3.62. Their power play is also ranked fifth, at 25.4 percent.

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