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Carter, Porter Provide 'Bash' For Wild

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

Every successful hockey team has intangibles and glue guys, those whose contributions can go unnoticed at times but are addends to the greater sum.

In the Disney trilogy, "The Mighty Ducks," coach Gordon Bombay — and eventually coach Ted Orion — had "The Bash Brothers," two forwards in Fulton Reed and Dean Portman who added a snarl to the lineup and a good sense of humor to go along with it.

In the Wild, a similar role is held by forwards Ryan Carter and Chris Porter, and its one that interim Head Coach John Torchetti said will be key as the Wild gets set to begin its first round series against the Dallas Stars.

"Even going back a few games for me, I had to go back when I had a few days off and looked at some film, and I really liked our team against Washington, and I really liked our team against [Philadelphia]," Torchetti said, referencing two games from late February. "[Porter] and [Carter] were in both of them, so we need that physicality."

Porter has played in 10 of the Wild's 20 games since Minnesota played the Capitals, and impressed Torchetti in the Wild's regular season finale against the Calgary Flames.

"I feel like my style of play suits the playoffs well," Porter said. "I’m going to be physical and get in on the forecheck."

Porter has played in each of the past three postseasons with the St. Louis Blues. He was noticeable in game 82 for Minnesota at a time when Torchetti said, " … whoever is playing the right way is going to be playing."

Re-establishing a consistent forecheck was something Torchetti preached in the days leading up to the Wild's final regular season game.

"Porter had an outstanding game," Torchetti said on Saturday." I don't like to say, 'one player this, one player that,' but we have to have all 20 players going."

Carter returned to the lineup Saturday after missing nine games with an upper-body injury, and also to be with his wife for the birth of their third daughter.

He assisted on the Wild's lone goal against Calgary, and, like Porter, also plays on the penalty kill.

Though the Wild knows staying out of the penalty box will be key against the Stars and its fifth-ranked power play, finding an answer for a unit that contains Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, John Klingberg, Jason Spezza, and Patrick Sharp will also be key, and not easy.

"From the kill perspective, making sure that it's difficult for them to get in the zone and get setup," Carter said. "Faceoffs will be big."

He also plays the type of game that can wear on an opponent both physically and mentally, especially when having to play against it four-to-seven consecutive times.

"It creates rivalries," Carter said. "Rivalries are more rooted in playoff series; wins and losses.

"This will be my first go around with [the Stars] here. It will be spirited because we do play each other. It's a divisional game — that's the way the league wants it nowadays. It will be fun. It will be intense for sure. I always find the first round to be the most intense round."

In the Wild's lone victory over the Stars this season, a 2-1 victory at American Airlines Center, Carter's name appeared in the box score multiple times, and for all the right reasons.

He got the Wild's first goal, and also took a matching slashing minor with Benn in the first period, taking Dallas' captain off the ice.

"I want to play in the playoffs, and I think I’m an effective player in the playoffs," Porter said. "It’s a fun time of the year to play. Every competitor wants to play in these games."

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