VANCOUVER – Devin Setoguchi was scheduled to return to the Minnesota Wild’s lineup in time for Wednesday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.
The high-scoring forward missed 12 games with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
“It’s just tough sitting out watching games,” Setoguchi said after the Wild’s morning skate. “You never want to do it.
“You just sit there and you watch. It’s always so each from up top. Then, you get on the ice and it’s totally different. So it sucks being up there.”
Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu said Setoguchi’s returns will help a Wild squad that got off to the best start in franchise history with him but fell out of first place in the division while he was out. Setoguchi’s injury coincided with those to Koivu, who missed four games in December, and several other players.
“His strengths, especially offensively, are a big threat,” said Koivu. “I don’t think it matters who we play against.”
Setoguchi, a 25-year-old native of Taber, Alta., was acquired in an off-season trade with the San Jose Sharks. Despite the injuries Minnesota has endured thus far, Setoguchi believes the Wild can not only end its current slide but also secure its first playoff berth in four seasons.
“I said at the start of the year: It doesn’t matter how many goals you score,” said Setoguchi. “It’s how many wins you get.
“Everything was going good (before the injury) and it’s still going good. We’re still in the position. We’re going to be in the playoffs. We’ve just got to bear down and keep going.”
NOTES: Josh Harding received the starting assignment in goal for Minnesota. It will only be his third start in 13 games . . . Wild enforcer Rob Staubitz, who has a team-high 66 minutes, was scheduled to be a scratch for the second straight game.