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Wild's Moulson expected to miss Game 4

Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 1:48 PM

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

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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 him 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."

In Moulson's place was Cooke, who will play on the Wild's third line next to Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine, giving Minnesota a speedy checking line capable of shutting down the Blackhawks' top offensive group as well as chipping in with some offense.

Cooke is returning from a seven-game suspension for kneeing Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie in Game 3 of their first-round series.

Also at practice Thursday was Suter, who was injured and missed the last two minutes of the second period in Game 3. Suter landed awkwardly on his right arm and flipped Chicago forward Marian Hossa over with his left arm, and said the injury occurred when Hossa landed on him. He returned and played 10 minutes in the third period, but there was some concern after the game about numbness Suter felt in the arm initially.

"Just got tangled up. He kind of landed on me weird," Suter said. "It was kind of scary, but I feel good now."

On defense, Keith Ballard, who played in his first game in nearly two months in Game 3, will stay in the lineup Friday. Ballard had 11:26 of ice time Tuesday and brought a physical element Yeo said the team needed.

Three goaltenders took part in practice, but Darcy Kuemper was not one of them. He was injured in the third period of Game 7 against Colorado. He has skated prior to practice in recent days, but has not been well enough to join practice.

Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, coming off his first playoff shutout in eight years, will start Game 4 for the Wild John Curry will likely be his backup. Josh Harding also took part in practice Thursday.

Here's what the lines looked like for the Wild at practice Thursday:

Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Matt Cooke - Erik Haula - Justin Fontaine

Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Cody McCormick

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Clayton Stoner - Keith Ballard

Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season