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Posted On Saturday, 10.25.2014 / 2:06 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Through the first couple weeks of the season the Minnesota Wild's power play has been somewhat oxymoronic.

The Wild enter play Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning 0-for-19 with the man-advantage and one of two teams in the NHL without a goal on the power play. 

"There's always ebbs and flows with your power play," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "At the beginning of the year it's always nice if you can get off to a good start; the players are putting more points on the board, they feel better about that and we have realistically at least one more win right now."

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Posted On Thursday, 10.23.2014 / 1:57 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Coyotes at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild locked up another piece of their future Wednesday when they signed forward Charlie Coyle to a five-year contract extension. The new contract is worth $16 million and has an average annual value of $3.2 million, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Coyle is in his second full NHL season, and has one goal and one assist in four games. He had 12 goals and 30 points in 70 games last season and had three goals in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"I'm really excited just to move forward with this organization," Coyle said. "Obviously I'm happy with where I am now. It's nice to know I'm going to be here for the next five years and playing with this team."

Coyle's entry-level contract will expire after this season, and he was to be one of several players the Wild view as a part of their core to be restricted free agents.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.09.2014 / 2:34 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- At the time, Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy called it the turning point of their Stanley Cup Playoff series.

With the Avalanche leading the Minnesota Wild 2-0 in the best-of-seven Western Conference First Round series, defenseman Tyson Barrie took a knee-on-knee check from Wild forward Matt Cooke, knocking Barrie from the series and, as it turned out, the remainder of the season, as Minnesota rallied to win the series in seven games.

Cooke was suspended seven games by the NHL and returned later in the playoffs, as the Wild exited in the second round against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"That was, mentally, probably the toughest thing I've gone through," Barrie said. "But you have to let it go. This is a new season, a new team and we've got a good young exciting team and that’s not going to be our last time in the playoffs."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 2:11 PM

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

Ballard returns for Wild, Kuemper to serve as backup

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard will return to the lineup Tuesday in Game 6 of their Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks at Xcel Energy Center (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS2).

Chicago leads the best-of-7 series 3-2.

Ballard was injured late in the second period of Game 4 when he was hit from behind by Blackhawks forward Brandon Bollig. Ballard left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return. Bollig was assessed a two-minute minor for boarding, and was later suspended for two games by the NHL Department of Player Safety. Bollig will serve the second game of that suspension Tuesday.

Ballard has a history of concussions, including one that cost him seven games in October of this season, but did not say whether he sustained one this time around.

"I feel fine, I've felt fine for a couple of days," Ballard said. "We were trying to be pretty smart about it. There's no chance that I'd play if I had symptoms. I've been through that before and been down that road a couple times.

"I don't want to put myself in a position where in 10 years, I can't remember [my kids'] names."

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Posted On Monday, 05.12.2014 / 4:44 PM

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

Wild look to feed off home crowd again in Game 6

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild have their backs against the wall yet again.

A 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of their Western Conference Second Round series Sunday night in Chicago has the Wild one game away from elimination for the third time in these Stanley Cup Playoffs.

For Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, it's been more than that. Twice in these playoffs, Minnesota has trailed in a series 2-0. Each time, Suter said Game 3 was like a must-win too.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.10.2014 / 7:26 PM

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

Surging Wild hoping to find success on the road

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- For the second time in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Minnesota Wild have battled back from a 2-0 series deficit by winning consecutive games at home.

A 4-2 win in Game 4 on Friday means their second-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks will go back to the United Center tied 2-2 with Game 5 on Sunday (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS2).

The Wild are 1-5 away from Xcel Energy Center in the postseason, and now the job is to take whatever is working at home, where Minnesota is 5-0 in the playoffs, and carry it with them to Chicago.

"Thinking back to Games 1 and 2, I said at that time it's not like we were that far off," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "We knew we could play a little bit better and I think we've picked our game up since then."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.10.2014 / 2:30 AM

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

Wild's Keith Ballard leaves Game 4 with injury

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Defenseman Keith Ballard was injured late in the second period of Game 4 of the Minnesota Wild's Western Conference Second Round game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday and did not return.

Ballard retreated into his defensive zone to retrieve a loose puck when he was hit from behind in the left corner by Blackhawks forward Brandon Bollig. Ballard, who appeared to hit his face and head on the glass, was slow to get to his skates but skated off the ice under his own power and went down the tunnel to the dressing room.

Bollig was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for boarding.


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Posted On Friday, 05.09.2014 / 2:00 PM

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

Cooke to add veteran know-how in return to Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke will rejoin the lineup for Game 4 on Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS) when the Wild will try to even the Western Conference Second Round series.

Cooke was suspended for seven games for kneeing Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie in Game 3 of the first round.

"I've been ready to go since I haven't been able to play," Cooke said. "The time is finally here and it'll be fun to go out and battle with my teammates."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 1:48 PM

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

Wild's Moulson expected to miss Game 4

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Forward Matt Moulson is out and forward Matt Cooke and defenseman Ryan Suter are in for the Minnesota Wild as they prepare for Game 4 of their Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Moulson, it was revealed, has been playing through a lower-body injury and Wild coach Mike Yeo said Thursday the two-day break between Games 3 and 4 has been good to give Moulson a couple days away to heal. Yeo said he doesn't expect Moulson to play in Game 4, but he could return shortly after.

"It's an opportunity for us to give a couple days here, at least," Yeo said. "Not skating yesterday, keeping him off the ice today and give him a chance to get better."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 4:17 PM

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

Shutout gives Wild's Bryzgalov break from critics

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- For one night, at least, Ilya Bryzgalov could breathe easy. The much-maligned, sometimes controversial Minnesota Wild goaltender put in a solid night of work in Game 3 of their Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks, stopping all 19 shots he faced in a 4-0 win.

The victory pulled the Wild to within 2-1 of the Blackhawks in the best-of-7 series, and temporarily silenced many of his critics. Asked about his first shutout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in almost eight years, Bryzgalov replied sarcastically.

"Thanks for reminding me. It's been a while," he said.

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