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Wild’s Seeler-Pateryn pairing providing stability on back end

LOUIS -- Perhaps the biggest vote of confidence for Nick Seeler and Greg Pateryn came Friday afternoon, Nov. 2, at the expense of teammate Nate Prosser.

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Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise (11) celebrates his goal with right wing Nino Niederreiter (22) and center Mikko Koivu (9) and defenseman Greg Pateryn (29) and defenseman Nick Seeler (36) in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on Oct. 4. Isaiah J. Downing / USA TODAY Sports
  1. LOUIS - Perhaps the biggest vote of confidence for Nick Seeler and Greg Pateryn came Friday afternoon, Nov. 2, at the expense of teammate Nate Prosser.

While the Seeler-Pateryn pairing has been a mainstay on the blue line this season, Prosser has played in just one game as a placeholder after captain Mikko Koivu left the team for the birth of his third child.
Because of that, Prosser was sent down to the minors on Friday afternoon for a two-game conditioning assignment.

“Nothing beats being in the lineup and playing,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “You can practice all day long, (but) it’s not the same thing. He’ll get two games and join us on the road trip, and we’ll go from there.”

That said, it seems unlikely that the Seeler-Pateryn duo will be broken up anytime soon. As expected, they have provided the Wild with grit, and maybe more importantly, some stability on the blue line.

“It’s not a rotation, which is a benefit, because we’ve had rotations ever since I’ve been here,” Boudreau said of his third pairing on the blue line. “I’d rather have them playing, and somebody is going to get hurt down the line, and we’ve got to make sure Nate is ready to play when that happens.”

Consistent playing time  has done wonders for Seeler and Pateryn this season as they work to build chemistry on the back end.

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“Thankfully, we’ve been able to play consistently, which helps with knowing where each other is at and the fluidity of the game and all that stuff,” Seeler said. “I think that’s definitely helped us grow as a pairing.”

“It’s been great to play together,” Pateryn said. “We make each other’s job easier and we know what to expect out of each other. I really think every game we take a step forward. We both feel good about the direction we’re going in.”

Both players know they need to continue to perform to stay in the lineup, especially with a hungry Prosser waiting in the wings.

“He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Seeler said. “He comes in every day and works his butt off. He works really hard and doesn’t complain. He’s just a great teammate no matter what, and those are the guys we love to have in the locker room. He’s not a diva about not playing or anything like that. We all know what he brings.”

Hendricks update

After returning to practice Friday, it looks like it’s only a matter of time before veteran Matt Hendricks returns to the lineup for real.

He has been nursing a lower-body injury since his left leg got rolled up on by winger Brendan Perlini in an Oct. 16 game against Arizona.

While the 37-year-old Blaine native wasn’t active for Saturday’s game against the Blues at Enterprise Center, he has been cleared for contact, and could play as soon as next week.

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“He’s a good penalty-killer. He gives us good energy. If he has to drop the gloves, no matter how old he is, he will. Just things like that,” Boudreau said of Hendricks.

“He knows how to play the game. He might be a little older in the tooth. At the same time, he’s a really good presence in the room and on the bench when he is playing. He’s a positive player.”

An old friend

Blues coach Mike Yeo coached against the Wild for his 11th time in his career on Saturday night.

He entered the matchup 6-3-1 against his former team since taking over for former Blues coach Ken Hitchcock on Feb. 1, 2017.

That includes a 4-1 first-round playoff series victory two seasons ago.

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