The Wild Beat
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That isn't a typo on the schedule.

The Wild is finally playing someone new.

After facing off against the same seven teams since January, the Wild takes on the Jets during its home opener Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center – the first time these two rivals have met since Jan.4, 2020.

"We haven't seen them for a long time," coach Dean Evason said. "Obviously real good team that is going to be hungry, so we've got a good test."

While the Wild debuts in St. Paul on the upswing after winning its first two games over the weekend, Winnipeg is in a 0-2 hole.

Still, the Jets are expected to vie for one of the top seeds in the Central Division, which is back after last season's realignment during a shortened, 56-game slate.

"I'm sure they're desperate as we are," Evason said. "Our focus is obviously on us, not trying to do too much in this hockey game coming home in front of all of our fans. So, we'd like our group to just do what we do and be who we are."

Goaltender Cam Talbot will be back in net for the Wild, and the same lineup from the team's 2-0 start will play in front of him.

This is the first of three October home games for the Wild, the fewest for any month in franchise history.

"It's an exciting day," captain Jared Spurgeon said. "Everyone looks forward to the first home game and just coming out of that tunnel and seeing the fans for the first time in a while, it's something you never take for granted. Being able to play a game you love in front of a ton of passionate fans in a city that loves the game and your team is something pretty special."

Projected lineup:

Kirill Kaprizov-Joel Eriksson Ek-Mats Zuccarello

Jordan Greenway-Ryan Hartman-Marcus Foligno

Victor Rask-Frederick Gaudreau-Kevin Fiala

Brandon Duhaime-Nico Sturm-Nick Bjugstad

Alex Goligoski-Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba

Jon Merrill-Dmitry Kulikov

Cam Talbot

Key numbers:

15-1-4: Record for the Wild all-time in its home openers.

14-6-3: Showing by the Wild all-time at home vs. the Jets.

2: Points in two games for winger Marcus Foligno.

57: Saves by Talbot on 60 shots.

2: Assists in two games for winger Kirill Kaprizov.

About the Jets:

This is the last stop on a season-opening, three-game road trip for Winnipeg. After losing 4-1 to Anaheim, the Jets fell 4-3 to San Jose on Saturday. Eleven players on the team have one point; Nikolaj Ehlers isn't one of them despite leading the Jets in shots with 10. Winnipeg will be without captain Blake Wheeler. He tested positive for COVID-19.