Red-hot Wild likely to get a boost with Koivu returning tonight


The Minnesota Wild is playing its best hockey of the season and they should be even better with the expected return of Mikko Koivu on Monday night against the Calgary Flames.

Koivu, the team captain, is expected to play for the first time since breaking his ankle while blocking a shot in a Jan. 4 game against the Washington Capitals, the Star Tribune reports.

Koivu is expected to center a line with forwards Dany Heatley and Charlie Coyle. The trio will make up the second line, with Zach Parise, Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville forming the top line. Koivu will be part of the top power-play unit with Parise, Coyle, Pominville and Ryan Suter.

“It’s the coaches who make the decisions and players, it’s our job to create chemistry with different players,” Koivu said following practice at Braemar Arena in Edina on Sunday. “Injuries are a part of the game and you’re going to have different guys and different lines. I think with Heater, it would be easy because we’ve played a lot of games together and with Charlie, [I’ve played with him]. I think it’s a matter of time more for myself to get on their speed of the game so I can help them out."

Head coach Mike Yeo said they are "excited to get him back."

The Pioneer Press reports that defenseman Marco Scandella could return as well. He hasn't played since hurting his knee before the Olympic break.

The Wild has done extremely well in 17 games without Koivu, going 11-4-2 over the stretch. Their 13-4-2 mark since the beginning of January is the second best record in the NHL, and they're within one-point of Los Angeles for the sixth-seed in the Western Conference. More importantly, they've put seven points between themselves and Dallas, Winnipeg and Vancouver for the final two spots in the West.

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