Mathew Dumba

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Bad news for Wild as Dumba set to miss ‘significant time’

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After dropping a 2-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night the Minnesota Wild find themselves stuck in a three-game losing streak and have now lost 10 of their past 15 games, keeping them on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture.

Things are not looking much better on the injury front.

The Wild announced on Friday that defender Mathew Dumba will undergo surgery next week for an “upper-body injury” and is set to miss a significant amount of time.

“We won’t know [an exact timetable] until they get in there,” said general manager Paul Fenton, via the Wild’s website. “They’re giving me a general timeline, but I don’t want to say anything that just comes back and haunts us. Let’s just make sure first how the surgery goes, and then we’ll make a statement from there.

“Certainly, we were hoping that it was going to be a quick thing to go through things but from talking to doctors, he does need surgery. But for those that have had surgery and they say it’s gonna be six months and you’re walking three months later, that’s what we’re kind of hoping for is that he gets something taken care and maybe it’s quicker.”

Dumba last appeared in a game for the Wild a week ago when he played just five minutes in a loss to the Calgary Flames. He exited that game after the first period and did not return. It is worth noting that he was involved in a fight early in that game with Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk as a carryover from a previous meeting when Dumba injured Mikael Backlund with an open ice hit. Dumba and the Wild have refused to say that fight is where the injury happened, while  Dumba insists he is not sure when it happened.

No matter when or why it happened, this is a huge loss for the Wild in the short-term.

The 24-year-old Dumba is not only one of the team’s most important players, he is having one of the best seasons of his career and was on track to set new career highs across the board while playing close to 24 minutes of ice-time per night. His 12 goals are not only tied for the second most on the team, they lead all NHL defenders while he is one of just three (Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs with 11, and Thomas Chabot of the Ottawa Senators with 10) to have scored more than eight goals so far this season. Chicago Blackhawks defender Erik Gustafsson is the only other one with more than seven.

The Wild are currently eight points out of the third playoff spot in the Central Division and three points back of a Wild Card spot with the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars sitting in front of them. The Wild do, however, have games in hand on every team they are chasing. They finished the 2017-18 season with 101 points, good enough for the eighth best mark in the league, but have struggled for a number of reasons this season, including most recently the extended slump by starting goaltender Devan Dubnyk. He has started to get back on track lately and play at his expected level, but now they are without one of their top defenders.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Wild’s Dumba asked Boogaard’s family permission to wear No. 24

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Kind move here from Minnesota d-man Mathew Dumba, who will be switching from No. 55 to No. 24 this season:

Boogaard, who passed away in 2011 from an accidental drug and alcohol overdose, wore No. 24 in Minnesota from 2006-10 and emerged as something of a cult figure, thanks in large part to his pugilistic skills.

His jersey eventually became one of the Wild’s top sellers.

Two other players have since worn No. 24 for Minnesota — Martin Havlat and, most recently, Matt Cooke. Like Dumba, Cooke reached out to Boogaard’s family to get their blessing.

“The team told me they’re OK with me wearing it because Marty [Havlat] wore it after [Boogaard],” Cooke said, per the Star-Tribune. “I don’t really feel comfortable putting it on without his mum and dad’s blessing. I’ve sent emails off to them. I want to let them know that by putting it on I’m absolutely not doing anything disrespectful. It’s been my only number in the NHL, but at the end of the day, I don’t want anyone’s feelings hurt.

“I don’t want anyone to think that I am being disrespectful and I want to make sure I take care of that before I even entertain the thought of putting it on.”

Cooke was bought out of the final year of his deal last month, which paved the way for Dumba to inherit No. 24.

Leopold out, Prosser in as Wild look to avoid Chicago sweep

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The Minnesota Wild are making a lineup change in the hopes of living to play another day.

Veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold, who’s appeared in all nine playoff games thus far, will be dropped from the lineup in Game 4 against Chicago in favor of Nate Prosser, who’ll make his postseason debut.

Prosser appeared in 63 games during the regular season and finished with two goals and seven points. According to head coach Mike Yeo, Prosser will help the club on the penalty kill; it’s also worth noting Leopold was barely used in the Game 3 loss to the ‘Hawks, getting just 8:36 of ice time.

As for other lineup notes:

— Prosser looks like he’ll be on a pairing with Mathew Dumba.

Chris Stewart briefly participated in this morning’s skate, but looks like he’s still struggling with his upper-body injury and won’t suit up tonight.

— Projected lines, per the Star-Tribune:

With Hedman questionable, Bolts recall ’12 1st-rounder Koekkoek

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The Tampa Bay Lightning could get a true defensive depth test tonight against Toronto.

Slater Koekkoek, the 10th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, has been recalled and could make his NHL debut this evening in place of Victor Hedman, who’s questionable after barely playing in the third period of Monday’s win over Montreal.

Should Hedman miss, he’d join fellow blueliners Jason Garrison and Braydon Coburn on the shelf. Garrison, who suffered an upper-body injury on a questionable hit from Detroit’ Justin Abdelakder over the weekend, is out 3-4 weeks; Coburn, who suffered a lower-body injury earlier this month, isn’t expected back until the playoffs at the earliest.

While those ailments have made for some tough times on defense, the Bolts have to be excited about Koekkoek’s arrival. The 21-year-old is enjoying a solid campaign with AHL Syracuse — 24 points in 66 games — and has some serious pedigree, the seventh d-man taken in first round absolutely loaded with quality defensemen (like Hampus Lindholm, Morgan Rielly, Jacob Trouba, Cody Ceci, Olli Maatta, Ryan Murray, Mathew Dumba and Derrick Pouliot.)

Parise chirped Weber with ‘nothing you want to write’ after Wild’s OT win over Preds

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In the aftermath of Mathew Dumba’s overtime goal in Minnesota’s 2-1 win over Nashville on Tuesday, some viewers noticed Zach Parise chirping Preds captain Shea Weber prior to joining Dumba in the celebratory mob.

So, what exactly did Parise say to Weber?

“Nothing you want to write,” he explained, per the Star-Tribune. “We were just going after each other all game.

“You reach your boiling point. I think he reached his, too.”

The visual evidence (not overwhelming, but you can see Parise get after Weber around 0:08.)

Parise had good reason to chirp. The Wild are the NHL’s hottest team at the moment and, improbably, have trimmed Nashville’s 21-point lead in the Central Division — yeah, the Preds were up 21 on the Wild on Jan. 13 — to just nine heading into tonight’s action.