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Wild get Kaprizov back but lose Eriksson Ek as playoffs loom

NHL Scores

ST PAUL, MN - MAY 02: Kirill Kaprizov #97 of the Minnesota Wild skates with the puck against the St. Louis Blues in the second period in Game One of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center on May 2, 2022 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Wild star left wing Kirill Kaprizov has been cleared to return from a lower-body injury, just as top center Joel Eriksson Ek has been sidelined by a lower-body injury.

The Wild announced Friday that Kaprizov will play against St. Louis on Saturday, exactly one month after he was hurt in an awkward collision with Winnipeg defenseman Logan Stanley. Kaprizov is still tied for 13th in the NHL and in the team lead with 39 goals despite missing 13 games.

Eriksson Ek was hurt when he was hit in the leg by a slap shot in the game Thursday at Pittsburgh, the third straight loss for the Wild. The team announced his status will be evaluated week to week, putting his availability for the April 17 start of the playoffs in question.

“With good news comes bad news,” Kaprizov said after practice Friday. “We’re really going to miss him in the lineup.”

Coach Dean Evason didn’t rule out a swift return for one of the team’s toughest players.

“He’s a huge part of our hockey club. There’s nothing we can do about it now. It’s done,” Evason said. “We’ll hopefully get him back sooner than later.”