"This game is huge," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "We know that."
In other news, injured rookie goaltender Darcy Kuemper skated earlier on Tuesday but isn’t ready to join the full team for practice, Yeo said.
Playoff scoring leader Zach Parise acknowledged the start will be important for a Wild team that is 3-0 on home ice in the playoffs.
"This league is a lot easier when you're playing with the lead," Parise said. "It's tough to come from behind all the time. We've had some pretty good starts in this building. That's the plan. But it doesn't always go the way you want it to. Even if we don’t get a good start or the first goal, I think it’s important for us to not stray away from what we’re trying to accomplish, what we’re trying to do, and how we’re trying to play. But I expect us tonight to have a lot of energy and come out with a good start."
Across the ice, the Blackhawks will not have Andrew Shaw in the lineup for Game 3. Kris Versteeg or Jeremy Morin or Brandon Bollig will take that spot, and two of those three will play on the fourth line with Michal Handzus.
The Blackhawks, winners of four straight, will have defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in the lineup, but he cannot speak to the media for several weeks after taking a shot to the throat in Game 2. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville joked that players might be lining up to take a similar shot in order to avoid the media.
Line combinations and defense pairings for Game 3:
Matt Moulson-Erik Haula-Justin Fontaine
Kris Versteeg/Brandon Bollig-Michal Handzus-Jeremy Morin
Niklas Hjalmarsson-Johnny Oduya