RALEIGH, N.C. – The Wild has called up reinforcements in recent days amid injuries to defenseman Jared Spurgeon (hand) and captain Mikko Koivu (lower body), but the team will stick with the same group of players Saturday when it tries to complete a sweep of its three-game road trip and push its point streak to 12 games against the Hurricanes.
That means goalie Alex Stalock will be in net, and the Wild will keep defenseman Nick Seeler in the lineup even though it recalled right-hander and Woodbury native Brennan Menell on Thursday.
He and center Nico Sturm, who was ushered up from Iowa of the American Hockey League Friday, will be healthy scratches for the Wild. But the two could see ice time next week when the Wild returns home.
“He started off slow,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of Sturm, who made a solid impression at training camp before getting assigned to the minors. “Now he’s starting to get acclimated to the professional game. He was starting to score some goals, and he’s a high-energy, really good defensive player so it seems like it would be a really good fit between [Marcus] Foligno and [Ryan] Hartman at some time.”
Despite utilizing the same players, the Wild is set to adjust a few lines.
Victor Rask is expected slot up the middle between wingers Zach Parise and Kevin Fiala, a move that shifts Luke Kunin from center back to right wing next to winger Jordan Greenway and center Joel Eriksson Ek.
This shuffing has come amid the loss of Koivu, who has returned home to the Twin Cities after getting placed on injured reserve Friday.
“He’s not very happy right now, I think more frustrated than anything,” General Manager Bill Guerin said. “He’s been a big part of the turnaround in the season here, so I know he’s frustrated. For us the most important thing right now is Mikko takes the time and gets healthy.”
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise-Victor Rask-Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Ryan Donato-Ryan Hartman-Marcus Foligno
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Carson Soucy
Nick Seeler-Brad Hunt
24: Points banked by the Wild since Nov.2, which is tied for the second-most in the NHL during that span.
4-0-2: Record for the Wild over its last six road games.
4: Points for winger Mats Zuccarello on this road trip.
32: Points in 34 career games vs. the Hurricanes for winger Zach Parise.
3-2-3: Showing for the Wild over its past eight visits to Carolina.
About the Hurricanes:
With 35 points and 17 wins, the Hurricanes are sitting in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They’re coming off a 3-2 shootout win over the Sharks at home on Thursday. That was the team’s fourth victory over its previous seven games. Winger Andrei Svechnikov has a team-high 31 points, while center Sebastian Aho’s 13 goals are the most on Carolina. Goalie Petr Mrazek is 12-6-1 with a .903 save percentage and 2.63 goals-against average.