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Wild bring Keith Ballard back for Game 3 vs. Blackhawks; defenceman last played in March

Tuesday, 05.06.2014 / 2:05 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Wild bring Keith Ballard back for Game 3 vs. Blackhawks; defenceman last played in March

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Wild have returned defenceman Keith Ballard to the lineup for Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal against Chicago.

Coach Mike Yeo confirmed the change after the pre-game skate Tuesday. Ballard replaced Nate Prosser on the third blue line pair. The veteran is in his first season with the Wild. He has been out with a lower-body injury and last played March 17.

The Wild also shuffled forwards, moving Nino Niederreiter to the first line with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle for more size.

Goalie Darcy Kuemper skated with the team Tuesday after leaving Game 7 of the last round against Colorado with an upper-body injury. But Yeo said Kuemper was no closer to returning. Ilya Bryzgalov has been playing in his place.

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The fans love it, and it looked like they were having fun. It was great to see this city [Columbus]. They had been waiting a couple years for this game. They did it right.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos after the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday