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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Colorado Game 4

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Colorado Game 4
Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (No. 7 seed in Western Conference) vs. Colorado Avalanche (No. 2 seed in Western Conference) - Minnesota trails in the series 2-1

With the Minnesota Wild trailing the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in the best-of-seven Round 1 series, Game 4 is no time to get mad, it’s time to get even. The Wild would like nothing more than to square the series and put the Avs on its heels before shifting back to Denver.

If the first three games were any indication, tonight’s contest will be a heated affair. However, the Wild will go forward without one of its most physical players for the rest of the series. Forward Matt Cooke was handed a seven-game suspension for his Game 3 hit on Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie. The Colorado blueliner was injured on the play and is expected to miss the rest of the playoffs, out for four to six weeks. If Cooke’s suspension term is not served in the postseason, the remaining games will be served at the beginning of the 2014-15 regular season.

Cooke’s absence leaves a hole on Minnesota’s third line, which in Game 3 was given the assignment of shutting down the Avalanche’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Paul Stastny. Tonight, Nino Niederreiter will join Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine as the shutdown unit. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that he likes Niederreiter’s size and defensive responsibility in the matchup. While it is a big task for two rookies and a 21-year-old, Yeo is confident in the trio. Of course, if the bench boss feels the matchup isn’t suited for the Wild, the club will have last change and is comfortable sending another line against the Avs’ trio.

With Niederreiter jumping up a line, Kyle Brodziak will re-enter the lineup. He’s expected to center the fourth line between Cody McCormick and Dany Heatley. Brodziak was a healthy scratch in Game 3, his first in a Wild sweater. In losing Cooke the team is losing one of its most reliable penalty killers, so Brodziak will likely play a prominent role shorthanded with Cooke out.

Of course, the Wild would prefer to stay out of the box against the Avs. However, Minnesota has stepped up while shorthanded, thus far. In three games, the Wild has allowed only one power play goal on 11 Avalanche chances. It’s been a chippy series and, with goals at a premium in the playoffs, the team that remains discipline will have a marked advantage.

On Monday, the Wild won an overtime thriller in Game 3 against the Avalanche, 1-0. After a scoreless 65 minutes, Mikael Granlund ended the game with the Wild’s 46th shot of the game. It was a highlight reel individual effort, with Granlund capping the goal with a diving play to tuck the puck past Semyon Varlamov. It was the 22-year-old’s first Stanley Cup Playoff goal. In his first-career playoff start, Darcy Kuemper saved all 22 shots he faced.
If You're Going
Rookie Joey Hishon will be thrown into the fire making his NHL debut tonight. The Avalanche's 2010 first-round pick is expected to join the team’s power play with the absence of Barrie.

Defenseman Ryan Wilson will replace Barrie on the blue line. Wilson played in 28 regular season games while dealing with knee and back injuries early in the season.
Due to predicted rain, changes have been made to today’s Game 4 pregame party. The food and beverage area outside Gate 2 will now be covered by one large tent. The majority of the elements from Monday’s pregame party that were under tents along Kellogg Blvd will now be relocated inside to the Gate 4 Lobby and the Bud Light Fan Zone. For more info on the changes, go here.

The Wild will wear its GREEN sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Zach Parise tallied an assist on Granlund’s winner Monday to extend his assist streak to a career-high three games.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge for a chance to win great prizes.

Wild.com
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
WildTV
Morning Skate Update | Yeo | Koivu | Parise | Coyle
PONDcast
Wild Players Preview | Yeo Game 4 Preview | Roy Game 4 Preview |
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
With Cooke out, Niederreiter moves up and Brodziak returns:

Parise -Granlund-Pominville
Moulson-Koivu-Coyle
Niederreiter-Haula-Fontaine
McCormick-Brodziak-Heatley

The blue line will remain the same:

Suter- Brodin

Spurgeon-Scandella

Prosser-Stoner
Kuemper made his first career playoff start in Game 3, stopping all 22 Colorado shots to become the first Wild goalie to record a playoff shutout.
View From The Press Box
The way that our lines are assembled, I’m not afraid of anybody playing against anybody if we’re on our game.

- Yeo on figuring out matchups.




Scratches tonight will be: Jonathon Blum, Stephane Veilleux and Mike Rupp. Cooke is out with a suspension. Defenseman Keith Ballard has a lower-body injury.

Forward Jason Zucker (surgery) and goaltender Josh Harding (illness) are on Injured Reserve. Niklas Backstrom is shutdown for the remainder of the season.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
D Erik Johnson hails from Bloomington. LW Patrick Bordeleau was selected by Minnesota in the fourth-round (114th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Granlund is only the fifth NHL player in the last 75 years to score his first career playoff goal in a 1–0 overtime game, joining: San Jose’s Andrei Zyuzin (1998), Philadelphia’s Ruslan Fedotenko (2002), San Jose’s Niko Dimitrakos (2004) and Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly (2010).

Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Avalanche will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North and FOX Sports Wisconsin, and nationally on CNBC with a start time at 8:30 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.            
Wild.com
Live Chat Replay | Cooke Handed 7-Game Suspension | Coyle Finding Comfort In Playoffs | The Best Of The Web | Pregame Party Changes | Game 3 Five Takeaways vs COL | Game 3 5-Hole vs COL |
WildTV
Wednesday Practice | Yeo - April 23 | Niederreiter - April 23 | Kuemper - April 23 | Fontaine - April 23 | McCormick - April 23  | Game 3 Timelapse |
PONDcast
  Yeo, Prosser, Suter, Brodziak - April 23
Photo Gallery
Game 3: Wild vs Colorado | A Season In Hugs
series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 30 '14MIN 5 at COL 4 - OTN. Niederreiter
Apr 28 '14COL 2 at MIN 5Z. Parise
Apr 26 '14MIN 3 at COL 4 - OTN. MacKinnon
Apr 24 '14COL 1 at MIN 2C. Coyle
Apr 21 '14COL 0 at MIN 1 - OTM. Granlund
Apr 19 '14MIN 2 at COL 4G. Landeskog
Apr 17 '14MIN 4 at COL 5 - OTP. Stastny
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
P. Stastny4347+2211
N. MacKinnon4167+6200
G. Landeskog4303+2201
R. O'Reilly4213+3000
J. McGinn4123+0200
T. Barrie3022+3000
N. Holden4011+3400
E. Johnson4011-2200
A. Benoit4000+3200
N. Guenin4000+0400
P. Parenteau4000-1200
M. Talbot4000-1400
P. Bordeleau4000-1000
C. McLeod4000-11200
M. Cliche4000-1200
B. Malone4000-1200
J. Hejda4000-3600
P. Carey3000-1000
R. Wilson1000+0000
J. Hishon1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
S. Varlamov42-291432.19.937
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
Z. Parise4055+0400
C. Coyle4303-2211
M. Koivu4033-1200
M. Granlund4112+2001
M. Scandella4112+0000
R. Suter4112-2410
J. Pominville4022+0000
E. Haula4101+0000
J. Spurgeon4101-2000
K. Brodziak3101-3200
N. Niederreiter4011-2400
J. Brodin4011-3400
M. Cooke3011-1600
N. Prosser4000+2200
C. McCormick4000+11400
C. Stoner4000+1600
M. Moulson4000+0000
S. Veilleux2000+1200
D. Heatley2000+0000
J. Fontaine2000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
D. Kuemper32-01480.40.979
I. Bryzgalov20-28454.85.822
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