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GAMEDAY: Game 4 Wild vs. Chicago

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Game 4 Wild vs. Chicago
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (No. 7 seed in Western Conference) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (No. 5 seed in Western Conference) - Minnesota trails in the series 2-1

The Minnesota Wild looks to keep the good times rolling at home.

Heading into tonight’s pivotal Game 4 in its Second Round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota is unbeaten at Xcel Energy Center through four postseason games. The Wild gets the chance to extend the streak, and, more importantly, send the best-of-seven series back to Chicago tied.

Tonight’s contest is critical for each team (that blanket statement is about as obvious as a blonde toupee on dark-haired man). The Wild is intimately familiar with the importance of Game 4. In its first round matchup against the Colorado Avalanche, the Wild was down 2-0 before rallying twice at home and eventually winning the series in seven.

Conversely, in last season’s Round 1 set against Chicago, the Wild had a similar chance to even up the series against the Hawks in Game 4. Minnesota lost 5-2 in the fourth contest, eventually falling in five. This, however, is a much different Wild team.

Forward Matt Cooke will be re-inserted into the lineup tonight. The sandpaper wing served a seven-game suspension for a Game 3, First Round hit on Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie. Cooke is expected to play on the wing with Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine.

Out for tonight will be forward Matt Moulson. The wing didn’t practice yesterday and Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that he’s been dealing with a lower-body injury for a while.

Through three games, we’ve seen a tight-checking, defensively sound series. The first team to score has won every game. Despite the seemingly lopsided scores (5-2, 4-1, 4-0; each game has seen an empty net goal to extend leads), the first three contests have been close or tied in the third period. So, while the first goal is important, it’s equally vital to close out games.

In Game 3, the Wild scored a playoff power play goal against Chicago for the first time in two years (seven games dating back to last year’s series). The Hawks still own the postseason’s best penalty kill (91.9 percent), but Minnesota has to have a little more confidence on the man advantage coming into tonight after breaking the goose egg.

The Wild drew closer in the series in Game 3 against the Hawks with a 4-0 victory. Haula scored the game’s first goal for the winner at the 1:41 mark of the third period and Minnesota never looked back. Mikael Granlund scored twice (his second was an empty netter) and Zach Parise notched the team’s first power play tally of the series. Ilya Bryzgalov pitched a 19-save shutout for the win. 
If You're Going
The Blackhawks were kept off the board for the first time this postseason. Marian Hossa has eight points in the playoffs, six of which came in Games 1 and 2 against the Wild. He had three assists in Game 2 and was a plus-4. Get fired up before the game with other State of Hockey fans. The Wild will host a pregame party from 5-8 p.m. at Gate 2 of Xcel Energy Center prior to Game 4 party for will include a live DJ, pig roast, Happy Hour prices (Wild.com’s favorite) and NHL alumni autographs.

The Wild will wear its GREEN sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Parise netted a power play goal and assist in Game 3 to earn his 14th career multi-point playoff game and third this postseason. He leads the Wild and ranks second in the NHL with 13 points (4-9=13) in the postseason.

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 Update | Niederreiter | Cooke | Ballard | Yeo
PONDcast
Wild Preview
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
Cooke will take the spot of Moulson on the third line:

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

The blue line will look the same as Game 3:

Suter-Brodin
Spurgeon-Scandella
Ballard-Stoner
In Game 3, Bryzgalov earned his first playoff shutout since May 7, 2006.
View From The Press Box
In the playoffs, there’s a fine line between playing smart and playing safe. We have to make sure that we are playing smart, but we have to make sure we’re not playing safe.

-Yeo on playing smart


Tonight's healthy scratches are Stephane Veilleux, Jonathon Blum, Nate Prosser and Mike Rupp. Moulson is out with 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 Nick Leddy is a native of Eden Prairie. In four games at Xcel Energy Center this postseason, the Wild has limited its opponents to 76 shots, an average of 19 per game. The Wild has held Chicago to 22 or fewer shots in each game this series. Since 2003, the Blackhawks have played in 84 playoff games, and have been held to 22 or fewer shots in seven contests – including three this series. The Wild has allowed 23.7 shots against/game this postseason – the lowest average in the NHL.


Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Chicago will be nationally in high definition on NBC Sports Network with a start time at 8:30 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com. Get updates with the Wild’s official team app, here.              
Wild.com
Live Chat Replay | Little Wild Learn To Play | Tweets Of The Week Game 3 Five Takeaways vs CHI | Game 3 5-Hole vs CHI |
WildTV
Yeo - May 8 | Fontaine - May 8 | Koivu - May 8 | Bryzgalov - May 8 | Round 1 Mic'd Up |
PONDcast
  Yeo, Parise, Bryzgalov - May 8
Photo Gallery
Game 3: Wild vs CHI | Hugs: Playoffs Edition
series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
May 13 '14 CHI 2 at MIN 1 - OT P. Kane
May 11 '14 MIN 1 at CHI 2 J. Toews
May 09 '14 CHI 2 at MIN 4 N. Niederreiter
May 06 '14 CHI 0 at MIN 4 E. Haula
May 04 '14 MIN 1 at CHI 4 B. Saad
May 02 '14 MIN 2 at CHI 5 P. Kane
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Hossa102810+3610
B. Seabrook72810+41510
J. Toews10459+4613
P. Kane10538+5802
B. Bickell10538+3610
D. Keith10257+6800
B. Saad10257+3201
P. Sharp10224+2400
A. Shaw7224+0810
M. Rozsival10134+0400
B. Smith10123+5200
J. Oduya10123+3400
N. Hjalmarsson10033-3400
M. Kruger10112+2600
M. Handzus10112-3200
N. Leddy9022-2400
K. Versteeg7022-1400
S. Brookbank4022+2000
B. Bollig9000-31400
J. Nordstrom5000-4000
J. Morin2000-1200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
C. Crawford106-4243142.18.924
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
Z. Parise1141014-2621
J. Pominville11279-2000
M. Granlund11437+4201
C. Coyle11347-2611
R. Suter11167-3410
M. Koivu11167-41000
N. Niederreiter11336+0602
K. Brodziak10336-1200
D. Heatley9156+7400
J. Spurgeon11325-1210
E. Haula11235+1001
M. Scandella11213+3000
M. Moulson10123+0400
C. Stoner11112+22400
J. Fontaine7112-1200
J. Brodin11022+41000
M. Cooke4022+0600
C. McCormick11101+21400
N. Prosser9000+31200
S. Veilleux4000+1400
K. Ballard2000-2000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
I. Bryzgalov73-4171272.91.866
D. Kuemper63-1111272.03.913
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