NHL on NBCSN: Predators, Wild meet as both inch closer to full health

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with Friday night action between the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild at 8 p.m. ET. To watch the online, click here

Both the Predators and Wild will be getting some late Christmas presents over the next few weeks. Injuries have sidelined some of their biggest names, but now they’re getting close to full health.

For Nashville, they’ve been without defenseman Ryan Ellis all season due to off-season knee surgery. He was cleared for contact practice and could be back in their lineup sometime next week. A roster glut will mean general manager David Poile will have to lose a player to make room, and Adam Vingan of The Tennessean speculates Cody McLeod or Miikka Salomaki could find themselves the odd-man out when Ellis is ready to return.

Minnesota will get goaltender Devan Dubnyk back this weekend as they play a home-and-home with the Predators. Dubnyk missed six games with a sprained MCL, but returned Wednesday night to backup Alex Stalock even as he admitted to still experiencing some pain in the knee.

“It’s kind of been where it’s manageable,” Dubnyk said via Mike Russo of The Athletic. “There’s zero hesitation on any plays. I’ve gone through just about every motion that I’ll do and there’s no hesitation. I know the maximum amount of pain I’m going to feel if I get it and it goes away, so it’s not something I’ll be thinking about.”

Zach Parise began his road back to the NHL on Thursday night with a conditioning stint with Iowa of the AHL. After missing the entire season so far with a back injury, the veteran forward played over 15 minutes and recorded one shot on goal and one assist. He’ll continue to get back to game shape with the hope of a return with the Wild next week.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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