A healthy Devan Dubnyk returns to the net for the Wild

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Despite Darcy Kuemper's continued sharp play in net, he will return to Minnesota's backup goaltender Thursday night when the Wild host the New York Rangers.

Devan Dubnyk will make his first start since Dec. 5 Thursday night. He has been out with a strained groin.

Dubnyk suffered the injury during the third period of a game against the Avalanche. Kuemper came on to replace him and the Wild held on for the victory.

Kuemper then started four straight games – including their last two victories over San Jose and Vancouver.

Wild coach Mike Yeo told reporters the plan is to go back to Dubnyk, Thursday night.

"He's healthy, he could have played last game, he will play [Thursday] night," Wild coach Mike Yeo told reporters Wednesday.

But with four games in the next six days Kuemper could make his way back onto the ice.

"Obviously Kuemps is on top of his game right now so that's a good thing for us," said Yeo. "We have got a number of games coming up in a short period of time so I think both guys will get a chance here before Christmas."

Yeo acknowledged that it was a tough decision because of the way Kuemper has played, but he said Dubnyk has done a lot for the Wild since he was traded to Minnesota.

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Seeing both Dubnyk and Kuemper in net could be a sign for the way things are headed for the Wild over a busy remainder of December and January.

"We count on Devan, he has proven that he can play a heavy workload, but too much is too much," Yeo said Wednesday.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. for the Wild and Rangers Wednesday night.

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