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Wild's Bergenheim gets fourth-line spot vs. Blues

by Louie Korac /

ST. LOUIS -- Forward Sean Bergenheim will be in the lineup for the Minnesota Wild when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin Thursday.

When the Wild play at the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, FS-N, FS-WI, FS-MW), Bergenheim will get the first crack to play at left wing on the fourth line. He takes the place of Matt Cooke, who will sit out because of an undisclosed injury.

Bergenheim, who has 12 goals and 17 points in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games (including nine goals and 11 points in 16 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011) has rotated in and out with Erik Haula and Ryan Carter.

Bergenheim was acquired from the Florida Panthers, along with a seventh-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, on Feb. 24 for a 2016 third-round pick.

Coach Mike Yeo said there was one overriding factor in his decision to play Bergenheim.

"It comes down to Bergenheim's production in the playoffs," Yeo said. "Before we acquired him we watched a lot of video of him about playoffs, when he was real instrumental on [the Lightning], probably achieving more than anyone thought that they would and the way that he was scoring the goals were the way we would need to score goals in this type of playoff series against this type of team. Part of it as well, just matchup-wise, what they're going to face as a line. We need to make sure we've got guys that can defend, but we also want to make sure that we have guys that are a threat. If they're on the ice against skill-type players, then again, you have to be ready to defend. There might be opportunities where you might be able to take advantage of something too."

Bergenheim had one goal in 17 games during the regular season for the Wild.

"The lines, we've seen them change before," Bergenheim said. "Nobody knew and now I'm in, so I'm happy about that.

"I've got to go out like everybody on this team and do my best. Previous for me it's worked and that's what I'm going to try to do. More importantly it's what we do as a team that's the most important thing. ... You do your best whatever the role is. Obviously the role now is a little different than what I had before but I still want to contribute as much as I can."

Yeo said Cooke's status for Game 2 on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports 2) is unknown.

"He's a possibility, yeah," Yeo said of Cooke. "I've given zero thought to Game 2 right now. I'm not sure on that."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Chris Stewart

Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

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

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Ryan Carter, Erik Haula, Jordan Schroeder, Christian Folin, Nate Prosser, Darcy Kuemper

Injured: Keith Ballard (concussion), Matt Cooke (undisclosed)


Jaden Schwartz - Paul Stastny - T.J. Oshie

Alexander Steen - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Dmitrij Jaskin - David Backes - 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

Status report: Kuemper, who was sick, was flying into St. Louis on Thursday and is expected to be ready to back up Dubnyk for Game 2, according to Yeo.

Who's hot: Parise had three goals and one assist in four games to conclude the regular season. ... Zucker scored three goals in three games to end the regular season after missing 27 games because of a broken clavicle. ... Pominville had two goals and three assists in his final six regular-season games.

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