“Can I wager on what the first question will be?” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo cracked before addressing the media after today’s gameday skate.
The question that’s been on the minds of Wild fans since the end of Game 4, ‘Who will start Game 5 in goal?’
As the Wild looks to extend the series against the Chicago Blackhawks, down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, Josh Harding will return to net. The goaltender left after the first period of Game 4 with an undisclosed injury. He’s started every game of the Western Conference Quarterfinals series.
Yeo said that he wanted Harding to show and say he’s ready for tonight’s game.
“We don’t know how he feels, but you have to trust him,” Yeo said. “And he says that he is good to go.”
As for any other changes in the lineup, we’ll have to wait unit tonight’s game. Forward Mike Rupp is a game-time decision. If he is unable to go, Stephane Veilleux will be on the fourth line with Torrey Mitchell and Cal Clutterbuck. Veilleux talked to WildTV about tonight’s tilt, and that video will be posted shortly.
Jason Pominville will move to the wing with Kyle Brodziak and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Pominville spoke to the media about the challenge of generating offense against a stingy Blackhawks defense, which will be on WildTV this afternoon.
In an elimination game, the Wild will need to play with the same desperation as Game 3, a 3-2 overtime win in Saint Paul. Finding the balance will be the task tonight as the club fights for its playoff life.
“Urgency without being uptight; confidence without being complacent,” Yeo said.
The Wild will look to its leaders what could be the team’s last game of the season. However, Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise will do whatever it takes to be sure that the Wild returns home for at least one more game. Both spoke to the media after the game. Koivu talked about the mindset of the team and that video is posted on WildTV. Parise’s availability will be posted soon.
This afternoon, the Wild signed forward Rapheal Bussieres to an entry-level contract. The 19-year-old was the Wild’s second-round selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.