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Posted On Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 2:32 PM

By Shawn Roarke -  Director, Editorial /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Quenneville leaves Blackhawks' top line intact

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It appears the band is back together for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round.

Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa were together Tuesday during the morning skate, suggesting they will form the top line when the Blackhawks, who lead the series 3-2, look to advance to the Western Conference Final with a victory in Game 6 against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS2, TSN).

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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 / 4:51 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks' Shaw closer, but won't play in Game 6

CHICAGO -- Make it five straight games for the Chicago Blackhawks without scrappy, versatile forward Andrew Shaw.

Though he's showing progress with a lower-body injury that occurred in Game 1 of a Western Conference Second Round series against the Minnesota Wild, Shaw will miss Game 6 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS2).

It will be the third straight trip to St. Paul he won't make, after sitting out Game 3 and Game 4 this past week. Chicago leads the best-of-7 series 3-2 after grinding out a 2-1 victory Sunday in Game 5 at United Center.

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Posted On Monday, 05.12.2014 / 4:46 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks experts in closing out series

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks don't always show a killer instinct early in a Stanley Cup Playoffs series, but the defending Stanley Cup champions sure know how to capitalize when given a chance to clinch.

Since 2009 the Blackhawks are 11-2 in series close-out games in their favor with a chance to up that mark Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center against the Minnesota Wild.

They're also looking to go 14-0 since 2009 in Game 5 and Game 6 of series that were tied 2-2, after winning 2-1 in Game 5 against the Wild on Sunday at United Center. Chicago now leads a best-of-7 series 3-2 against Minnesota in the Western Conference Second Round, with a chance to close it out in Game 6 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center (9 p.m., CNBC, TSN, RDS2).

"I don't know [why]," Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya said, when asked to give a reason for the domination of series-clinching contests. "It's something I wasn't really aware of, but we have a lot of characters in the room [who] are good in important games, [who] step up and play their best hockey in games like that. A lot of good leaders and other guys have been around [and] have experience. I think that's key in situations like this."

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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 Monday, 05.12.2014 / 1:56 AM

By Shawn Roarke -  Director, Editorial /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild in familiar position after Game 5 loss

CHICAGO -- There can be no moral victories for the Minnesota Wild now.

After dropping a 2-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of this Western Conference Second Round series at United Center on Sunday night, the Wild are in the all-too-familiar position of needing a win to keep their season alive.

Game 6 at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS2) is a win-or-go-home affair for the Wild, who trail the best-of-7 series, 3-2.

It is the same position they were in during the first round against the Colorado Avalanche and they have followed the same path to the brink of elimination, losing three road games and winning twice at Xcel Energy Center.


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Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 3:34 PM

By Shawn Roarke -  Director, Editorial /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Defenseman Prosser to play for Wild in Game 5

CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild defenseman Nate Prosser will replace injured Keith Ballard in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday at United Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 2-2 with the home team having won each of the first four games.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 2:18 PM

By Shawn Roarke -  Director, Editorial /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Regin, Versteeg into Blackhawks lineup for Game 5

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will look slightly different for Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round series against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday at United Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series is tied 2-2.

Center Peter Regin will be making his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut with Chicago, and left wing Kris Versteeg will be reinserted into the lineup, coach Joel Quenneville said. Quenneville is considering a shakeup of his defense pairings, with Sheldon Brookbank possibly in for Michal Rozsival.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.10.2014 / 7:26 PM

By Shawn Roarke -  Director, Editorial /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Shaw out, Bollig suspended for Hawks in Game 5

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will again be without forward Andrew Shaw when they play Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday at United Center (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS).

Shaw, out since suffering a lower-body injury in Game 1, is unable to return, coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday. He said Shaw is progressing slightly, but, as of Friday, had yet to resume skating.

"[He’s] felt better the last couple of days, [an] encouraging sign," Quenneville said, "but I wouldn’t expect him [Sunday]."

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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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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic