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Wild change lines ahead of elimination game vs. Blues

Minnesota splits Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund down 3-0 in series against St. Louis; Game 4 Wednesday

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild forward lines had a new look during practice at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday, one loss from elimination in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The biggest change was splitting center Mikko Koivu and right wing Mikael Granlund. They had been linemates since Nov. 25 and combined for 127 points (44 goals, 83 assists) during the regular season, but each has one assist through the first three games of the Western Conference First Round against the St. Louis Blues with the Wild trailing the best-of-7 series 3-0.

Game 4 is at Scottrade Center on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 2, FS-MW, FS-N).


[RELATED: Complete Wild-Blues series coverage]


Koivu centered left wing Nino Niederreiter and right wing Zach Parise during practice, and Granlund was with center Eric Staal and left wing Charlie Coyle. Martin Hanzal centered the third line, with left wing Jason Zucker and right wing Jason Pominville, and the fourth line was comprised of left wing Chris Stewart and center Joel Eriksson Ek, with Ryan White and Jordan Schroeder rotating at right wing.

"It was nice to try something new and we'll see what it's going to be tomorrow," Granlund said. "Let's just go to work tomorrow. Everybody knows each other and it's not that big of a deal that we practiced with that line, and we'll see how it goes tomorrow."

Boudreau refused to say if the lines used Tuesday would remain in place Wednesday.

"Those are the power-play units, so I just kept them in the same color [practice jerseys] because we weren't doing anything exceptional except going to the net," Boudreau said. "Those aren't necessarily the lines that are going to be playing tomorrow."

Video: MIN@STL, Gm3: Boudreau speaks on Wild's 3-0 deficit

Wild center Erik Haula missed practice for a maintenance day; Boudreau said he is questionable for Game 4.

Minnesota is trying to become the fifth team in NHL history to win a playoff series after trailing 3-0, and first since the Los Angeles Kings defeated the San Jose Sharks in the 2014 Western Conference First Round.

The Wild have made postseason comebacks before; in 2003, they became the first team to come back from being down 3-1 twice in the same playoffs, when they won their first two series with Game 7 victories on the road, against the Colorado Avalanche in the first round and the Vancouver Canucks in the second.

"If you don't believe [you can come back], then why do we go?" Boudreau said. "I firmly believe that we've got a shot, as every other team in the League does. You go there and you try to win one game."

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