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Avalanche, Wild turn focus back to Game 4

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round series between the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche has been a subplot the past 48 hours with fallout from the knee-on-knee hit by Wild forward Matt Cooke on Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie taking center stage.

It was announced after Game 3, played Monday, that Barrie would miss at least a month with an MCL injury in his left knee. Wednesday, Cooke was suspended for seven games for kneeing by the NHL Department of Player Safety.

An extra day off between Games 3 and 4 allowed for more talk about the hit.

"It's amazing isn't it, just one extra day between games in the playoffs, it feels like a week," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.

Game 4 takes place Thursday at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN2, RDS2, ALT, FS-N, FS-WI). Colorado leads the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Lineup adjustments for each team were revealed Wednesday at practice, and Yeo and Avalanche coach Patrick Roy confirmed those changes Thursday.

Avalanche defenseman Ryan Wilson will take Barrie's spot in the lineup. Forward PA Parenteau will take Barrie's point position on the power play, and forward Joey Hishon will make his NHL debut on the fourth line. He will play a role on the power play.

"Same thing as yesterday," Roy said.

Roy said the Avalanche will have to improve on their breakouts. By Roy's count, Colorado had four scoring chances in Game 3, something that must change if they hope to go home with a chance to close out the series. Game 5 is Saturday at Pepsi Center.

"We want to generate more offense and make the work of their goalie a lot tougher than it was the last game," Roy said.

With Cooke out, Wild forward Nino Niederreiter moves to the third line, and Kyle Brodziak is back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Game 3. Brodziak, who was a healthy scratch for the first time with the Wild, said he's excited to get another opportunity and that the chance to watch the game from the press box gave him an idea of what to expect.

"I think when you lose [your game] a little bit, it's good to just keep it simple and focus on some simple things," Brodziak said. "Move your feet, play hard and make strong plays with the puck. If you continually do that, then your confidence can start to build and your game can build from there."

Goalie Darcy Kuemper will start for Minnesota after his 1-0 shutout win in Game 3.

Here are the projected lineups:


Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - Nathan MacKinnon

PA Parenteau - Ryan O'Reilly - Jamie McGinn

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Max Talbot

Patrick Bordeleau - Joey Hishon - Brad Malone

Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson

Nate Guenin - Ryan Wilson

Andre Benoit - Nick Holden

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratched: Reto Berra, Stefan Elliott, Paul Carey

Injured: Tyson Barrie (knee), Matt Duchene (knee), John Mitchell (concussion), Cory Sarich (back), Alex Tanguay (hip)


Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Matt Moulson - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Justin Fontaine

Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Cody McCormick

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Clayton Stoner - Nate Prosser

Darcy Kuemper

Ilya Bryzgalov

Scratched: Stephane Veilleux, Mike Rupp, Jonathon Blum, Matt Cooke (suspended)

Injured: Jason Zucker (quad), Keith Ballard (groin), Josh Harding (illness), Niklas Backstrom (abdominal)

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