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Marcus Johansson returns as Wild urgently chasing points

WILD PREVIEW

vs. Arizona Coyotes, Xcel Energy Center, 7 p.m. Tuesday

TV; radio: BSN; 100.3 FM

Stats and analytics: Tap here.

Pregame reading: Marat Khusnutdinov has arrived and has a highly paid driver.

For the fans: The Wild are hosting their third annual Pride Night. Players will be invited to use Pride tape on their sticks during pregame warmups, and Pride community groups will have information tables on the main concourse. Wild players and significant others, including Jon Merrill and his wife, Jessica Molina, are donating tickets to Tickets for Kids and Queerspace Collective and will have a postgame meet-and-greet. The Minnesota Wild Foundation will auction new, unworn, autographed Pride-themed jerseys, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Minnesota Wild Foundation and Twin Cities Pride.

Sarah McLellan's analysis:

Pregame update: The Wild activated forward Marcus Johansson from long term injured reserve and he will play tonight.

Opening bell: For the second time in less than a week, the Wild will square off against the Coyotes, who have been a pesky matchup for the Wild despite sliding down the standings. The Wild (31-27-7) have won the last two meetings since getting crushed 6-0 by Arizona in January, but the Coyotes (26-34-5) were competitive in both losses. Last Thursday in Arizona, the Wild actually fell behind in the third period before scoring four goals in a row — including two empty-netters. Since then, the Wild lost in overtime to Colorado and defeated Nashville in overtime to extend their point streak to four games (3-0-1); the Coyotes shut out Detroit before falling to Chicago.

Watch him: Before he completed an unusual win for the Wild on Sunday vs. Nashville by scoring in overtime after the Wild pulled G Marc-Andre Fleury, RW Matt Boldy assisted on two goals to give him three points in the 4-3 victory. This is the second straight season Boldy has eclipsed 50 points. Since Nov. 28 when John Hynes made his debut behind the Wild bench, Boldy has produced at almost a point-per-game pace, tallying 23 goals and 21 assists in 46 games.

NHL standings

Injuries: Wild D Jared Spurgeon (hip/back). Coyotes C Travis Boyd (torn pectoral muscle) and C Barrett Hayton (undisclosed).

Forecast: The Wild are desperate for points to stay in the playoff race, as evidenced by their unorthodox decision to pull Fleury in overtime against the Predators, and that urgency can't waver against a struggling opponent like the Coyotes. Among the teams vying for a Western Conference wild-card spot, the Wild have one of the easiest schedules the rest of the way, but that doesn't matter if they don't win the games they should, and this is one of those games. Arizona has only three victories in its last 20 contests and is coming off a 7-4 loss to last-place Chicago. The Wild might not be able to make up any ground in the standings depending on how Vegas performs, but this is an opportunity to not fall further behind.