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Blackhawks seek faster pace as Wild prepare, with Finnish centres as focal point of system

Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 4:15 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Blackhawks seek faster pace as Wild prepare, with Finnish centres as focal point of system

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Wild are bracing for more aggression from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Minnesota won a slower Game 3 to cut Chicago's lead in the series to 2-1. Game 4 is Friday, and the Blackhawks will be fired up to get their attack back on track.

The Wild have some ready-made remedies for that. The centres on their first three lines, Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula, bring defensive-minded games that make them a good fit in their system. The rookie Haula's skating speed in particular has been a big boost.

Lineups for both teams could change for Game 4. The Wild will replace Matt Moulson with Matt Cooke. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday he's looking for more of a balanced scoring threat on each line.

Quote of the Day

I was surprised. I knew I got it. It's tough. You never know how hard it is until it registers on the gun. I got pretty much all I could into and you just hope for the best.

— Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber after winning the AMP NHL Hardest Shot event at the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition