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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 5:00 PM

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

Status of goalies still uncertain for Wild

MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Minnesota Wild were able to get one key piece of their lineup back Tuesday in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks, the team still has plenty of questions in goal with a pair of injured veterans and a rookie as the only answers.

By all accounts, forward Jason Pominville's return from an upper-body injury went off without a hitch and he is expected to play, in perhaps an even bigger role, in Game 5 on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS2). Pominville began Game 4 on the Wild's fourth line before shuffling between there and the third line. He also played extended minutes on all six of Minnesota's power plays.

Pominville missed the team's previous five games.

But 36 hours before puck drop at United Center, the Wild have no idea who will be between the pipes -- or who will be healthy enough to suit up.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 4:33 PM

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

Wild seek answers for sagging power play

MINNEAPOLIS -- If the Minnesota Wild are going to get back into their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks -- a series the Wild trail 3-1 heading to Game 5 at United Center on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS2, NBCSN) -- it likely will come because of a revitalized power play.

Minnesota was 0-for-6 with the man-advantage in Game 4 on Tuesday, a 3-0 loss Wild coach Mike Yeo said was "hanging there for us" if only his team had taken advantage of its chances, especially on the power play.

The Wild now are 0-for-15 on the man-advantage in the series and the only team in the playoffs that has not scored a power-play goal in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"That was definitely a winnable game," Yeo said. "We were doing a lot of good things, we had a great start defensively, we gave them very little in the game. But execution-wise, power play was the lead example that."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 10:02 PM

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

Pominville, Dowell in lineup for Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Despite a 3-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series, the Minnesota Wild made tweaks to their lineup in Game 4.

Right wing Jason Pominville returned from injury, and Jake Dowell, a former Blackhawks player, is centering the Wild's fourth line. Torrey Mitchell, who centered that line for Game 3, moves to right wing. Mike Rupp, who skated four shifts Sunday, was scratched.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 9:49 PM

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

Blackhawks have Keith in Game 4 lineup

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith left the Twin Cities on Monday night to return to Chicago to be by the bedside of his wife Kelly-Rae, who gave birth to a baby boy Tuesday morning.

Keith returned in time to join the Blackhawks lineup for Game against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night in a Western Conference Quarterfinal series (NBCSN, CBC, RDS2).
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 4:09 PM

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

Suter reacts to first-time Norris nomination

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Just 24 hours after receiving bad news regarding the candidacy of rookie defenseman Jonas Brodin for the Calder Trophy, the Minnesota Wild got some good news about Ryan Suter and the Norris Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL's best defenseman.

Suter, along with the Pittsburgh Penguins' Kris Letang and the Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban, are the three finalists for the award, which is presented annually to the blueliner who "demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability" at the position, as voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

"It's a huge honor for me. I feel very fortunate to be on that list," Suter said Tuesday. "It says a lot about our team and the guys I play with."

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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 4:44 PM

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

Saad a Calder finalist, but Brodin doesn't make cut

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- As the Stanley Cup Playoffs kick into full gear this week, the Professional Hockey Writers Association has begun announcing the finalists for its postseason awards. They will do so by releasing the names of the finalists for 11 awards each weekday through May 20.

The first award announced Monday was the Calder Trophy, given to the League's top rookie, as voted on by members of the PHWA.

Among the nominees: Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad, Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher and Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin, considered by many as a potential front-runner to win the award, was not.


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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 4:25 PM

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

Bolland, Emery practice, inching closer to returns

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A pair of Chicago Blackhawks returned to practice Monday as the team prepares for its Game 4 matchup against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday in a Western Conference Quarterfinal at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS2).

Forward Dave Bolland and goaltender Ray Emery took part in the entire practice but both said they will not be ready to play Tuesday night. Both are inching closer and could be ready to jump back into the lineup when the series shifts back to Chicago's United Center for Game 5 on Thursday.

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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 1:06 PM

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

Pominville skates at optional practice

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A critical member of the Minnesota Wild's lineup may be on the verge of returning just in time for Game 4 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

For the first time in a week, Minnesota right winger Jason Pominville joined his teammates for practice Monday, skating with 14 of his teammates during an optional session at Xcel Energy Center.

Pominville scored four goals and added five assists in 10 games with the Wild after coming over from the Buffalo Sabres in a deal at the NHL Trade Deadline for a pair of prospects and a pair of draft choices.


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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 4:27 PM

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

Backstrom 'getting better,' not sure about Game 3

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- For the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury shortly before the start of Game 1's Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom addressed the media Saturday following the team's practice, one in which he participated.

"I for sure want to get back out there as soon as possible," Backstrom said. "It's getting better, it's getting there. It's going to take time, but it's something to work on every day. Every morning when you wake up, you hope it's better."

Backstrom was expected to start Game 1 when, during warm-ups, he pushed off his left leg to try and stop a puck. He leaned over on the ice in obvious pain and limped back to the locker room.

About 15 minutes before puck drop, Josh Harding was thrust into the starting lineup for the first time in over two months and stopped 35 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss Tuesday. Harding was stellar again in Game 2, stopping 43 of 47 shots in a 5-2 loss.


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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 7:14 PM

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

Wild get solid contributions from young players

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild entered the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 11 players on the roster who hadn't played a single playoff game in the NHL.

Among those 11 are three rookies, all of whom played big minutes and important roles for the Wild in its Game 1, 2-1 overtime loss to the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Minnesota boasts a pair of rookies among its top-six forwards, plus a 19-year old rookie and a pair of 23-year-olds on its top-four defensive pairings. Four of those five have played major roles for the Wild this season.

Defenseman Jonas Brodin is the headliner of the bunch, a 19-year-old Calder Trophy candidate who skated a team rookie record 34:20 in Game 1.

"I've got total confidence in this kid," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Seeing him go out over and over again, we've talked about it many times this year, but you have to be impressed to see this kid go into Chicago and perform in a playoff game like that. … It shows the composure and the mental makeup he has."

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Quote of the Day

A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin.

— Detroit Red Wings center Stephen Weiss on his sports hernia surgery