ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The playoffs are when Blackhawks center Dave Bolland has always been at his very best.
It's killing Bolland to sit and watch the Hawks play the Wild in the first round while his groin injury mends.
While Bolland won't play again Tuesday night in Game 4, he did take part in Monday's full-squad practice at Xcel Energy Center and is getting closer to returning.
"Just taking it day by day," Bolland said. "It's difficult watching it when you see what going on out on the ice, to see everybody battling and just in that playoff mode."
Bolland can't put a finger on why he has been so successful in the playoffs throughout his career.
"Just the way my game is, I guess," Bolland said. "I just play hard and do the defensive thing and just do the right things. You do take pride being that big-game player and stepping up at bat, playing a hard game and just battling."
The Hawks missed Bolland on Sunday and what he would have brought to that tough, physical game.
"You think of playoffs and that name comes up," teammate Bryan Bickell said. "He's missed right now, but he has to get his injury right to be at his top performance."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville is hoping to have Bolland back sooner than later.
"Bolly in the playoffs, he usually takes his game to that playoff level of intensity," Quenneville said. "He's been a very effective guy for us in the playoffs."
Bolland isn't concerned where he will fit back into the lineup when he's healthy. Michal Handzus has been centering the second line in Bolland's absence for Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.
Wild coach Mike Yeo accused the Hawks of cheating on faceoffs in the first two games at the United Center, which brought a snicker from Joel Quenneville.
"We can argue that one for a while here," Quenneville said. "I'm not complaining here."
Minnesota won 56 percent of the faceoffs in Game 3 on Sunday even thought the linesmen were tossing players out of the circle with regularity.
"There's been a lot of guys being tossed on faceoffs," Quenneville said.
Carcillo a possibility?
Joel Quenneville was asked Monday about Daniel Carcillo, who has been a healthy scratch in the first three games, and if he might be inserted into what has become a physical series.
"He could play," Quenneville said.
When pressed about if not: "He might not," Quenneville said laughing.
Ray Emery was back at practice Monday, stopping shots and showing no affects from his groin injury, but Emery won't back up Corey Crawford in Game 4.
Crawford got the day off to rest, according to Joel Quenneville.
There were three goalies on the ice at practice: Emery, Henrik Karlsson and Carter Hutton.
"Ray's progressing," Quenneville said. "He's out for (Tuesday), but he's feeling better and better. He took the whole practice today so that's a good sign."
Right winger Jason Pominville (concussion) practiced Monday for the first time in the series.
"I'm not saying he is a possibility for (Tuesday) and I'm not saying he isn't," Mike Yeo said. "I'm just glad he was on the ice today."
Goalie Niklas Backstrom also practiced but won't play in Game 4. Josh Harding will start his fourth straight game.
"He's showed an unbelievable amount of battle," Mike Yeo said of Harding. "Especially the fact he's played so little hockey this year, the thing that impresses me is that it's not noticeable.
"He's seeing pucks and picking up pucks, controlling rebounds. Obviously we know this time of year and your goaltender and how much the spotlight is on those guys and I think he has handled that extremely well."