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Yeo mulling left wing decision on Wild fourth line

by Dan Myers /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo has one important lineup decision remaining for Game 1 of a best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, FS-N, FS-WI, FS-MW).

For the third straight day, Yeo changed the personnel on the left side of his fourth line, inserting Sean Bergenheim in during a practice at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Ryan Carter was in that spot; Monday it was Matt Cooke.

Who it will be on Thursday is still up in the air.

"We'll leave that until [Thursday]," Yeo said. "Just a different look today and we'll see where that takes us [Thursday]."

The decision is likely to come down to either Carter or Bergenheim. Cooke, who missed 31 games following sports hernia surgery in early February, played in the final two games of the regular season but complained of discomfort following practice Monday.

Cooke did not participate at all in practice Tuesday and was a limited participant Wednesday. Yeo said he is unlikely for Game 1 but is a possibility for Game 2.

"I pushed it pretty hard on Monday. It was just nagging, so I just took an extra day," Cooke said. "It's all related. The first injury caused the second injury. I'm just dealing with it all right now."

Bergenheim brings an intriguing playoff pedigree, with 12 goals and 17 points in 23 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Tampa Bay Lighting and Florida Panthers.

Yeo indicated that history could figure into his decision.

"I think it's been the most fun I've had playing ice hockey," Bergenheim said. "It is the playoffs. I enjoy it, for sure. I think I've had success before and partly it is because of the style I play.

"If I'm playing, I'm very happy about it. I want to play in the playoffs and help the team. If I'm not, then I'm just going to keep on working every day and wait for my opportunity."

Carter has played in 43 career playoff games and won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. He has three goals and 13 points in 53 games this season.

Carter has also played a crucial penalty-killing role when he's been in the lineup and is reliable defensively.

"We are expecting a tough matchup for that line. We need guys that are, No. 1, be solid defensively because I'm expecting matchups that we have to be strong in our defensive part of our game, but you also don't want to defend the whole time," Yeo said. "If you are out there against offensive-type players, then certainly there are opportunities to create offense against those guys as well."

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