Kaprizov likely for Wild against Ducks, recovered from upper-body injury


ST. PAUL, Minn. — Kirill Kaprizov is expected to play for the Minnesota Wild against the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET; BSN, BSWI+, BSSC, BSSD, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). 

The forward on Wednesday practiced for the first time since he sustained an upper-body injury from a hit by Boston Bruins forward Trent Frederic in the second period of a 3-2 win on Jan. 6. 

“He looked good,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “Maybe a little winded but shifts were a little bit [long] … but generally he looked real good. Unless something unforeseen happens (he will play Friday).”

Kaprizov missed one game, a 3-2 shootout win against the Washington Capitals two days later. The Wild’s next two games, at the Winnipeg Jets on Monday and the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, were postponed because of attendance restrictions in Canada cities. 

Kaprizov, who leads Minnesota with 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 32 games, worked with Wild skating and skills coach Andy Ness and practiced less than one week after the injury.

“Just because of the way he plays,” Evason said of the quick return. “He’s obviously built firmly. He’s in great shape. These guys, they all are athletes today. The players are in such terrific shape they can recover quickly from those types of things.

“I’m sure Kirill will feel fatigued today but then gets another skate tomorrow. We’ll see where everybody comes out of it, but lots of good work here the last couple days.”

Minnesota forwards Joel Eriksson Ek, Jordan Greenway and Brandon Duhaime also practiced and are likely to play. Eriksson Ek missed three games with an upper-body injury, Greenway and Duhaime each missed two while in NHL COVID-19 protocol.

Goalie Cam Talbot (lower body), and defensemen Alex Goligoski (protocol), Jonas Brodin (upper body) and Jared Spurgeon (lower body), remain sidelined.

“We haven’t played a lot of games when these guys have been out, but having said that, we’ve really been able to have a nice look at different people too,” Evason said. “We’ve been able to call up (from the American Hockey League) and not only call up but have people in different positions.

“We’ve had a lot of different people in special teams and power play, that it’s been nice for us to see some different looks as well.”

The Wild (21-10-2) are fourth in the eight-team Central Division. They’ve won two in a row after losing the previous five.

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