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Wild revert to Game 1 lineup for Game 3

by Dan Myers / NHL.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild will go with the lineup that won them Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues for Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round on Monday at Xcel Energy Center (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN1, TVA2, FS-MW, FS-N).

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.

Minnesota's top-six forwards haven't changed since the start of the series, but the fourth line has changed because of illness and circumstance.

In Game 1, Sean Bergenheim and Justin Fontaine flanked center Kyle Brodziak. In Game 2, it was Matt Cooke and Jordan Schroeder.

The Wild were initially expected to have the same lineup in Game 2, but Fontaine was a late scratch because of an illness. With Fontaine out, Wild coach Mike Yeo wanted another penalty killer in the lineup, so he also swapped Bergenheim for Cooke.

But with Fontaine feeling better, Bergenheim will also find his way back in.

"I thought both games that Brodziak line, whether it was [Bergenheim] and [Fontaine] or Cooke and [Schroeder], I thought both those lines had some real good shifts in the offensive zone, forechecking, creating turnovers, going in straight lines, finishing checks, those are things that are important to us," Yeo said. "That's the kind of stuff that we're looking for, especially at home."

Yeo said he likes the way Fontaine can execute up the ice and along the wall, which is why he's back in. His role as a top penalty killer is another reason. Fontaine, who was a healthy scratch during last season's run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, said he's happy to be a part of it this time.

"You can never get too comfortable or complacent because we have a lot of guys around," Fontaine said. "Anyone can hop in and be effective so you have to be sharp in your game."

Brodziak, the one constant on that line, has been effective for much of the second half of the season. In the final year of his contract, Brodziak's name was mentioned as one that could be available ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline in March.

Since then, Brodziak said a weight has been lifted.

"I think so," he said. "At the time we talked about it, and I was saying the same thing that I was trying not to think about it, and just trying to play my game and not worry about it too much. But it definitely weighs on you a little bit. When it past and I knew I was going to be here for the rest of the year, it was a chance to reset and refocus, and just worry about things you can control."

Yeo has been impressed with Brodziak's play in his own zone, something that has kept him in the lineup.

"The way that he's been playing the game, certainly a much different confidence that he has right now as far as making playing, creating plays in the offensive zone, just how solid he's been in his own zone, that's been a big factor as well," Yeo said. "He's been a real solid player for us for quite a long time here."

Here are the projected lineups:

BLUES

Dmitrij Jaskin - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

Alexander Steen - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz - Paul Stastny - Patrik Berglund

Steve Ott - Marcel Goc - Ryan Reaves

Carl Gunnarsson - Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester - Zbynek Michalek

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Jake Allen

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Olli Jokinen, Chris Porter, Chris Butler, Robert Bortuzzo, Ty Rattie, Niklas Lundstrom

Injured: None

WILD

Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Chris Stewart

Thomas Vanek - Charlie Coyle - Nino Niederreiter

Sean Bergenheim - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Jordan Leopold - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Matt Cooke, Ryan Carter, Erik Haula, Jordan Schroeder, Christian Folin, Nate Prosser, Niklas Backstrom

Injured: Keith Ballard (concussion)

Status report: The Blues have had the same lineup in all three games.

Who's hot: Granlund had a goal in Game 1 and has been Minnesota's best faceoff man in the series, winning 59.4 percent of his draws.

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