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Wild Look to Rebound in Finland

(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes will aim for a sweep of the Minnesota Wild this afternoon when the clubs complete their season-opening series at Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Finland.

Carolina and Minnesota, which both missed out on the playoffs last season, had the honor of playing the very first game of the regular season this year, as they kicked off the 2010 NHL Premiere series on Thursday afternoon. The league is staging games in three European cities at the start of the season. San Jose and Columbus are also playing today and Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden, while Phoenix and Boston will battle Saturday and Sunday in Prague, Czech Republic.

The Hurricanes recorded a 4-3 victory in Thursday's contest as Brandon Sutter scored twice and Jussi Jokinen, one of three Finnish players on Carolina's roster, added a goal and an assist.

Anton Babchuk also tallied for Carolina, which finished last season at 35-37-10, but ended up tied for 11th in the Eastern Conference. Cam Ward turned aside 26-of-29 shots, including 10-of-11 in the third period.

"It was good because (Sutter and Jokinen) get that confidence and grab some of that early," coach Paul Maurice told the Hurricanes' official website. "Guys like (Eric) Staal can go three or four games without scoring and don't start questioning themselves, but players that had big years come back and feel like they need to do something early to get that confidence."

Former Hurricane Matt Cullen had a goal and a helper for the Wild, who also got goals from Guillaume Latendresse and Brent Burns. Minnesota went 38-36-8 in 2009-10, good for the 13th spot in the Western Conference.

Niklas Backstrom -- Minnesota's Finnish netminder -- made 27 saves in defeat.

"There were some areas in our game that were just disappointing," Minnesota head coach Todd Richards told the team's web site.

On the injury front for Carolina, forward Jiri Tlusty is questionable for today after missing the opener with a knee injury. 'Canes defenseman Joe Corvo was able to shake off a lower-body injury to play in Thursday's game and is expected to skate for Carolina today as well.

Minnesota defenseman Marek Zidlicky (leg/groin) is doubtful for today's game.

The Wild and Hurricanes split a pair of meetings last year with each club winning on home ice. Minnesota is 4-3-1 with a tie in the last eight contests between the teams.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.