Just as a Wild player returns from injury, another gets sidelined with one.
Winger Mats Zuccarello will be back in the lineup Tuesday when the Wild hosts the Oilers at Xcel Energy Center, but winger Kevin Fiala won’t be playing.
He’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
“He’s a great puck handler, and he’s a distributor and we need to have it,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of Zuccarello. “There’s a reason he was sought after [during free agency] in the summer. A lot of our players have started off slow, but it’s that time now that our best players have to be our best players and he’s gotta do it.”
Zuccarello missed the last four games with a lower-body injury.
To activate him from injured reserve ahead of the game, the Wild will have to move someone else to injured reserve. Centers Joel Eriksson Ek and Victor Rask are also dealing with lower-body injuries.
The Wild is coming off only its second win of the season, a 4-3 rally over the Canadiens Sunday at home.
Building off that success will require the Wild to tame an upstart Oilers squad that is 7-1-1.
Captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl rank second and third in the NHL in points, respectively.
“They’ve always presented a great challenge,” Boudreau said. “They’re obviously off to a great start, and [McDavid’s] off to a great start. We could talk about McDavid all night long, but there’s a lot of other players that are having great starts that haven’t had great starts in the past. As much as we have to worry about him all the time, I think the reason their record is what it is is because everybody is playing well.”
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Jason Zucker
Jordan Greenway-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Ryan Donato-Luke Kunin-Gerald Mayhew
Marcus Foligno-Gabriel Dumont-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Jared Spurgeon
Carson Soucy-Brad Hunt
300: Career starts for goalie Devan Dubnyk with the Wild.
600: Career games for defenseman Jared Spurgeon.
1-2: Record for the Wild vs. the Oilers last season.
27: Home wins for the Wild against the Oilers are the second-most against any franchise.
1.71: Career goals-against average for Dubnyk against Edmonton.
About the Oilers:
Edmonton is off to a terrific start this season, leading the Pacific Division with 15 points. McDavid has 17 points in nine games, including five goals, while Draisaitl has 16 points in the same games. Goaltenders Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen have been splitting netminding duties, and both have a save percentage of at least .930. Center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has a team-high 16 points in his career against the Wild. The Oilers are coming off a 1-0 shootout loss in Winnipeg Sunday.