ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Wild have done a good job of putting the brakes on Chicago's high-flying offence through the first three games of the Western Conference semifinals.
The Wild trail 2-1 in the series, but they have not allowed the Blackhawks to get more than 22 shots on net in a game yet. Now they get tough guy Matt Cooke back to help keep the defensive pressure going.
Cooke will play on Friday night in Game 4 after serving a seven-game suspension for a knee-to-knee hit on Colorado's Tyson Barrie in the first round. The hit renewed criticism of Cooke as a dirty player.
Cooke struck an almost defiant tone on Wednesday, saying people "are entitled to their opinions." He says it's not his job to try to change those opinions.
We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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