Carolina drafted Staal second overall in the 2003 NHL draft and played 909 games over 12 seasons (2003-16) with the Hurricanes, winning a Stanley Cup in 2006. Staal is having an All-Star season with his 34 goals and 31 assists to lead Wild scorers. It’s his most goals since he scored 40 during the 2008-09 season. Staal had a goal and assist in the first game against Carolina this year. His brother Jordan, 29, is a current member of the Hurricanes; he has 15 goals and 22 assists this season.
Cullen was also part of the Cup-winning team as part of his 266 games in a Carolina uniform.
Again, the Wild (37-22-7) face a team with fewer wins and points. The Hurricanes are 29-26-11 with 69 points and sit in sixth in the Metropolitan Division. The Wild have a four-game home winning streak going against Carolina. The Wild are 23-5-6 at home this season, getting points in 25 of their past 27 games in St. Paul for an NHL-best mark.
The Wild are still in third place in the Central Division, just one point in front of Dallas in the first wild card spot. The Wild are 19-8-3 against the Eastern Conference and 9-3-3 against Metropolitan opponents. They’re also 9-3-3 in their past 15 games against Carolina, a team that won 5-4 in a shootout back on Oct. 7 in Raleigh for the Hurricanes season opener. Mikko Koivu scored with one second left in the third period to send the game to overtime.
Koviu is currently riding a four-game point streak with three goals and two assists. Jason Zucker has 10 points in his last six games and is two goals away from hitting the 30-goal mark this season. Goalie Devan Dubnyk is 6-2-0 in nine games in his career against Carolina. Zach Parise, who has four points in the past four games, leads the Wild with 28 points in 31 games versus the Hurricanes.
Teuvo Teravainen leads the Hurricanes with 52 points (19-33—52) and has points in four straight games, including a goal in a career-high four straight games. He’s followed by Sebastian Aho with his team-leading 23 goals and 51 points. The Hurricanes are first in the NHL in faceoff win percentage at 53.6 percent.
With some personnel news, the Wild lost Luke Kunin for the season after he tore his ACL in Sunday’s game against Detroit. The 20-year-old with two goals and two assists in 19 games with the Wild this season will have surgery and miss about seven months.
Other personnel notes: Nick Seeler, who sparked the team with a fight in Sunday’s game, will be out of the lineup against Carolina. He’s still sore and day-to-day, according to head coach Bruce Boudreau. Wild forward Daniel Winnik celebrates his 33rd birthday on Tuesday. Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk hails from South St. Paul and played hockey at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Faulk has four assists in his past four games.
Luke Kunin (ACL tear in left knee), out for the season
Total man games lost: 111