The Wild has missed 200 man games due to injury this season, and it will be at least one more before Mikko Koivu returns to the lineup after suffering an upper body injury on Jan. 14. There was some hope yesterday at practice as Koivu was wearing a green jersey (meaning he could be hit), but the Wild Captain will not be available tonight as the Wild plays the last of its three-game road stretch against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
However, Head Coach Mike Yeo addressed the media after today’s morning skate and said that he is very, very close and needs a couple more days. He said that the team is targeting Koivu to return on Thursday as the Wild hosts the Vancouver Canucks at Xcel Energy Center.
Niklas Backstrom’s performance in the last two road games has earned a third-straight start. Matt Kassian will get back into the lineup and replaces Brad Staubitz on a line with Jed Ortmeyer and Warren Peters.
No other changes in the lineup to report, but there will be some adjustments on the man advantage. Matt Cullen and Marek Zidlicky will man the point on the first unit and Nate Prosser and Jared Spurgeon will run the second unit.
A reminder, tonight’s game will be broadcast on FOX Sports North Plus. For a channel guide, visit here.