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vs. San Jose Sharks, Xcel Energy Center, 7 p.m. today

TV; radio: BSN; 100.3 FM

Morning skate update: Wild D Jonas Brodin (lower body) and C Joel Eriksson Ek (lower body) will return to the lineup tonight. Filip Gustavsson will start in goal. Coach John Hynes said the team is monitoring another injury to an unnamed forward, which could affect the lineup.

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Sarah McLellan's analysis:

Opening bell: Will the Wild be rusty or rejuvenated? They're back in action after not playing since last Saturday, a layoff that dropped them five points in the standings; the Wild (34-28-9) are now nine back of Vegas for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 11 games remaining. Their first test out of the break is against last-place San Jose: The Sharks (16-47-8) have won just once in their past 18 games.

Watch him: Wild LW Kirill Kaprizov led the Wild to a 4-3 victory over the Sharks on March 3 by scoring a hat trick. In 14 career games vs. San Jose, Kaprizov has 13 points, including eight goals. Another highlight-reel performance against the Sharks could lift Kaprizov to unchartered territory: He's four goals shy of his third consecutive 40-goal season, a feat no one else in Wild history has achieved.

NHL standings

Injuries: Wild D Jared Spurgeon (hip/back). Sharks RW Alexander Barabanov (undisclosed), D Matt Benning (hip), C Logan Couture (groin), D Ty Emberson (laceration), C Mike Hoffman (concussion) and G Vitek Vanecek (lower body).

Forecast: The Wild are coming off their longest hiatus since the All-Star break, but this is the perfect game to get back up to speed. San Jose has slumped to the bottom of the NHL while leaking goals; the Sharks have been scored on at least five times in four of their past five outings. Brodin and Eriksson Ek return for the Wild, who have an opportunity to build some much-needed momentum ahead of a key game Saturday against Vegas. That matchup becomes more interesting if the Wild bank two points vs. San Jose.

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