The Minnesota Wild, riding a four-game winning streak, get a key contributor back in the lineup on Thursday
Mats Zuccarello, who suffered a hand injury in the second period of Friday’s game against Winnipeg, was officially cleared to play ahead of a matchup with New Jersey.
Zuccarello has six goals and 16 points so far for the Wild. He also has a plus/minus rating of +9.
In addition, Kaapo Kahkonen will be making the second of back-to-back starts in net as the Wild look to improve to 4-0 on their current homestand. Minnesota has outscored its four opponents 16-5 over that stretch.
The homestand, the Wild’s second-longest of the season, ends on Saturday with a matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kahkonen has a 5-3-1 record this year with a 3.04 goals against average and a .885 saves percentage. He stopped 29 shots in a 5-2 victory over Arizona on Tuesday.
This is the Wild’s second matchup with New Jersey in the past eight days.
Minnesota beat the Devils 3-2 in a shootout last Wednesday at the Prudential Center.
The Wild roll into Thursday with 31 points, four more that second-place St. Louis in the Central Division. Minnesota also is tied with the Calgary Flames for second in the Western Conference overall, a point behind the Edmonton Oilers.
New Jersey enters Thursday night having lost three of its past four games.
Minnesota is 4-0-2 over the last six games against New Jersey.
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The Wild vs. Devils odds on WynnBET has Minnesota as a 1.5 goal favorite at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild are listed as -175 favorite on the moneyline with New Jersey the underdog at +157 The total goals is set at an over/under of six.
Upcoming Wild schedule
Saturday, Dec. 4: Toronto, 6 p.m. CST
Tuesday, Dec. 7: @Edmonton, 8 p.m. CST
Thursday, Dec. 9: @San Jose, 9 p.m. CST