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After bright early prognosis, Wild’s Marcus Foligno will miss eighth straight game

Marcus Foligno has missed seven games with a lower-body injury the Wild expected him to heal from in a handful of days. After Tuesday night’s game against Carolina at Xcel Energy Center, it will be eight days.

Answers about the status of the veteran, one the Wild’s best defensive forwards — his plus-12 ranking only behind Joel Eriksson Ek’s plus-15 — have been hard to come by.

During the Wild’s back-to-back trip through Edmonton and Seattle last weekend, coach John Hynes said he would know more when the team returned to St. Paul, but there was no news after Tuesday’s morning skate.

“I’ll have more of an update from Marcus on … probably the weekend,” Hynes said.

Foligno essentially was limited to two periods in the Wild’s 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Feb. 9, injured late in the second when tripped by Marcus Pettersson.

Defenseman Zach Bogosian, out with an upper-body injury, skated with the Wild on Tuesday and is expected to travel with the team when it leaves Wednesday for key division games at Nashville on Thursday and St. Louis on Saturday.

“This was his first game back with the team, so he’s progressing fast,” Hynes said.

As for Foligno, it remains unclear. In addition to his injury, he was on paternity leave last week for the birth of he and his wife’s third child. Asked if it’s possible Foligno misses the rest of the season, Hynes said, “I don’t believe so.”

The Wild are 5-1-1 without Foligno this month but there’s no doubt that with his grit, responsible play, eagerness to defend teammates and scoring ability near the net, he makes Minnesota a better team. When Foligno was initially hurt, Hynes said the team expected him to miss two games.

“That’s kinda why I don’t really want to give an update on it yet, because the plan changes every other day right now,” he said Tuesday. “There still needs to be a little bit of evaluation before I would make any statements about where his progress is.”

Marooned

Pat Maroon, recovering from Feb. 7 back surgery, doesn’t appear close to returning. Nor does it appear he’ll be healthy before the March 8 deadline if the Wild stumble and decide they’re sellers.

His initial prognosis was a four- to six-week recovery.

“He’s not in the near future right now. He’s a little bit a ways away,” Hynes said.

What about Shaw?

When Mason Shaw showed this month he had recovered from his fourth anterior cruciate ligament surgery, the Wild signed him to a two-way deal and immediately recalled him from Iowa, where he had four goals and three assists in nine games with their AHL affiliate.

That was Feb. 15, and Shaw has been a healthy scratch for all six games since, including Tuesday’s game against the Hurricanes. It raises the question of whether Shaw might be better off playing games in Des Moines.

Shaw, 25, has played in only those nine AHL games since being injured just before the NHL postseason started last April.

“We consider those things and talk about them, but that would be with coaches and management,” Hynes said. “Let’s see. Every game’s a different script.”

Jake Lucchini, an undrafted free agent who played his first NHL games last season with Ottawa, has found a role on this team as a fast-skating checker playing on the third and fourth lines. On Tuesday, he was set to play his 18th NHL game this season.

And it’s not just because the Wild are winning, 7-1-1 since returning from the all-star break on Feb. 7, Hynes said.

“Just because you win games, it doesn’t mean you won’t make lineup changes,” the coach said. “Even when you’re winning, you’ve got to cut through and think, ‘What are the results?’ You want to try to make sure you’re getting the best from everybody.”

Briefly

Minnesota’s 2024 Ms. Hockey, Ayla Puppe of Northfield, teammed with Grace Zhan of Hill-Murray, the 2024 Jori Jones Award winner as the best high school goaltender, for Tuesday’s “Let’s Play Hockey!” game-starter.

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