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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Thursday, 05.07.2015 / 2:25 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild hope lineup changes create space for Vanek

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild will make several tweaks to their lineup for Game 4 of their Second Round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2).

Chicago leads the best-of-7 series 3-0 and can advance to the Western Conference Final for the third consecutive season with a win at Xcel Energy Center. A Wild win would force Game 5 in Chicago on Saturday.

The biggest change for the Wild is moving third-line center Charlie Coyle to right wing on the second line, with left wing Jason Zucker and center Mikko Koivu. Coyle and Zucker have been linemates for much of the series but Coyle has played sparingly with Koivu this season. He has played right wing on Koivu's line in the past.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.05.2015 / 2:01 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild's Stewart out for Game 3 against Blackhawks

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Chris Stewart will not play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks at Xcel Energy Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Stewart, who sustained an upper-body injury during the second period of Game 2, is day-to-day. He was hauled down by Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya and crashed hard into the end boards and left the game briefly.

Jordan Schroeder skated in Stewart's place on the second line, but coach Mike Yeo said not to read too much into it.

"Our players didn't even know our lines this morning. So just because he went there doesn't mean you should assume he'll be on that line," Yeo said.

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Posted On Monday, 05.04.2015 / 5:25 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild hope to play better defensively in Game 3

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild were content with their play in a 4-3 Game 1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference Second Round series, but said their effort in a 4-1 loss in Game 2 left them underwhelmed.

After rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the first period of Game 1, the Wild believed they had momentum to build on for Game 2. But the Blackhawks dominated much of Game 2 on Sunday, leaving the Wild in a 2-0 hole as the best-of-7 series shifts to Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday (8 p.m.; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"We need to get back to our game. Obviously, Game 2 wasn't the Minnesota Wild," forward Jason Zucker said Monday. "We didn't play our game and it's definitely not good enough. We have to make sure we come out in Game 3 and really play our game and battle hard."

Minnesota did not practice Monday but held a team meeting and watched film of Game 2.

"I don't know if it was Chicago's game. It just wasn't our game, that's all," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "If we're going to be frustrated with anything we should be frustrated with ourselves a little bit here. It would be far more frustrating if we played two good games and came out on the short end.

The Wild turned pucks over at the blue line and were not good enough in the defensive zone.

"For us, physical is being down low, working the puck, using our [defensemen] and I think we kind of got away from that [on Sunday]," forward Thomas Vanek said. "In the second and third period of the first game, I thought we got back to our game, getting pucks deep and creating chances. For whatever reason [Sunday], we were trying those long plays like them and that's not the kind of team we are.

"Play our game," Vanek said. "You don't beat teams by playing their way, especially not Chicago. If you play their way, it will look like we did [in Game 2]. We have to find our game here quickly and I'm sure we will."

The Wild have returned home for Game 3 in each of the last two playoff series against Chicago. Last season, the Wild won each game in St. Paul to tie the series at 2-2 before Chicago eventually won the series in six games.

"I think the experience is always good when you've been through that and you know from the experience," Wild captain Mikko Koivu said. "A lot of guys have been here for that. But at the same time, you need to create those experiences again. It's a new year, a new series, so we can't just think that it's going to happen. It's about the preparation right now and making sure we're ready to go for when the puck drops and play the way we can. We can't look too far ahead of ourselves. I think that's what we've been good at the last couple months and that's what we need to do right now."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.29.2015 / 10:12 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Pominville misses Wild practice, will play Game 1

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild got back to work Wednesday in preparation for the start of their Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Game 1 of the best-of-7 series is Friday at United Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2).

Minnesota had a full day off Monday before an off-ice workout and an optional team skate Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center following a physical, six-game, first-round series against the St. Louis Blues that ended Sunday.

Jason Pominville was the only Wild player not on the ice Wednesday. Coach Mike Yeo said the veteran forward was sick.

"Yeah, he's just under the weather today. So, give him the day off," Yeo said.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 2:52 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Wild series blog

Wild want to oust Blues at home, avoid Game 7

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild will look to capitalize on their latest momentum and close out the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their Western Conference First Round series at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, SN).

The Wild lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 and have a chance to wrap things up prior to Game 7 for the first time in their history following a 4-1 victory in Game 5 at Scottrade Center on Friday.

It's the second time Minnesota has led in the series following a 3-0 win in Game 3 on Monday. The Blues answered with a 6-1 victory here in Game 4 on Wednesday.

"I think it's a good chance for us with that fresh in our minds. I think maybe it'll be good us to see what happened the last time we got a lead and maybe were a little bit comfortable," Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk said. "But that's just a lesson that's fresh in our minds and we can use and feed off of to make sure we're ready for the game tomorrow."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.23.2015 / 4:54 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Wild series blog

Wild shake off blowout, prepare for pivotal Game 5

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Wild will look to rebound against the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of their Western Conference First Round series at Scottrade Center on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports, FS-N).

St. Louis dominated nearly every facet of Game 4, winning 6-1 at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday. It was the most goals Minnesota has ever allowed in a Stanley Cup Playoff game as well as its most lopsided loss.

The best-of-7 series is tied at 2-2.

The Wild did not skate Thursday but had a media gathering at the airport before departing the Twin Cities.

How Minnesota rebounds from the lopsided loss will likely play a big part in who advances to the second round. For their part, Wild players and coach Mike Yeo said the margin of defeat isn't that big a deal.

"Obviously it's frustrating, but I don't know that it would be any more frustrating or disappointing if we had lost in triple OT," Yeo said.
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 2:08 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Wild series blog

Wild look to maintain edge, take 3-1 lead on Blues

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild have been at their best this season when their backs have been against the wall.

When the Wild were under .500 in January they made a trade for goaltender Devan Dubnyk and had the best record in the NHL the rest of the season.

When faced with one of the toughest schedules in the League during the final few weeks Minnesota won crucial games against other Western Conference contenders for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Posted On Monday, 04.20.2015 / 2:26 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Wild series blog

Wild revert to Game 1 lineup for Game 3

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild will go with the lineup that won them Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues for Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round on Monday at Xcel Energy Center (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN1, TVA2, FS-MW, FS-N).

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.

Minnesota's top-six forwards haven't changed since the start of the series, but the fourth line has changed because of illness and circumstance.

In Game 1, Sean Bergenheim and Justin Fontaine flanked center Kyle Brodziak. In Game 2, it was Matt Cooke and Jordan Schroeder.

The Wild were initially expected to have the same lineup in Game 2, but Fontaine was a late scratch because of an illness. With Fontaine out, Wild coach Mike Yeo wanted another penalty killer in the lineup, so he also swapped Bergenheim for Cooke.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.19.2015 / 3:44 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Wild series blog

Wild hope for improved home play against Blues

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild hope they can transfer their recent road success to home ice when their Western Conference First Round series against the St. Louis Blues shifts to Xcel Energy Center on Monday.

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.

The Wild are expected to have a full complement of players available. Forward Jason Zucker blocked a shot with his hand in Game 2 and was in visible pain on the bench, but stayed in the game.

“I feel great, no problems. I’ll be ready to go for sure,” Zucker said. “I have no ill effects from anything at all.”

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 2:48 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Wild series blog

Yeo mulling left wing decision on Wild fourth line

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo has one important lineup decision remaining for Game 1 of a best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, FS-N, FS-WI, FS-MW).

For the third straight day, Yeo changed the personnel on the left side of his fourth line, inserting Sean Bergenheim in during a practice at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Ryan Carter was in that spot; Monday it was Matt Cooke.

Who it will be on Thursday is still up in the air.

"We'll leave that until [Thursday]," Yeo said. "Just a different look today and we'll see where that takes us [Thursday]."

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Quote of the Day

I'm here to develop a winning culture and a winning team. There is a bright future ahead of this team.  A lot of young, great hockey players here and on the way … a fan base that's passionate about the game of hockey.

— Dan Bylsma after being introduced as new coach of the Buffalo Sabres