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updated: 4/30/2014 7:25 PM

Blues' Cracknell joins Wolves for playoff battle

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  • Associated Press/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris LeeAfter scoring against the Blackhawks in the playoffs, winger Adam Cracknell, right, will try to help the Wolves win their AHL quarterfinals series against Rochester. The Wolves will host Game 3 on Thursday night.

      Associated Press/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chris LeeAfter scoring against the Blackhawks in the playoffs, winger Adam Cracknell, right, will try to help the Wolves win their AHL quarterfinals series against Rochester. The Wolves will host Game 3 on Thursday night.

 
By Ross Forman
Daily Herald Correspondent

Adam Cracknell scored the first goal of the playoffs for the St. Louis Blues, helping them win Game 1 in triple overtime on April 17 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

With the Blues eliminated, he now will be skating for Chicago -- the Wolves, that is.

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The Wolves announced Wednesday that Cracknell, a forward, has been returned on loan from the Blues, and that forward Eric Kattelus has been recalled from Kalamazoo (ECHL). Both will be available for Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at 7 p.m. today (Thursday) at the Allstate Arena.

The Wolves and the Rochester Americans are tied 1-1 in their best-of-five series after the Wolves took the opener 4-3 in overtime, then fell 3-2 in Game 2. Game 4 is Friday night in Rosemont, and a Game 5 would be Sunday afternoon, if necessary, also at Allstate Arena.

"It's a clean slate right now. It's a best-out-of-three games," Chicago goalie Jake Allen said Wednesday. "We've got to get on our horse (Thursday) night. We know they're going to come out of the gate flying."

The Midwest Division champion Chicago Wolves (45-21-5-5; 100 points) earned home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Rochester (37-28-6-5; 85 points) is the No. 7 seed, and lost 6-2 the last time it played at Allstate Arena on Feb. 28.

"I thought we played tentative at the start of the first game and came on in the third (period). They really played desperate in the second game. Played very hard. You have to give them credit," Chicago coach John Anderson. "We're going to change a few things on our end and I'm sure they're going to readjust a few things, too."

Cracknell scored 12 goals and 13 assists in 28 regular-season games for the Wolves before returning to the NHL on April 11. He appeared in five of the six games for the Blues against the Blackhawks.

Kattelus played six regular-season games for the Wolves this season. He had 14 goals, 21 assists in 37 regular-season games for Kalamazoo.

Some other things watch in this series:

• Brent Regner joined the Wolves lineup for the postseason after missing 13 of the last 16 regular-season games with an injury, and he tallied a goal and two assists, tying Dmitrij Jaskin for the team lead in playoff points.

• Rochester goalie Andrey Makarov has been a dominant force for the past month, finishing the regular-season with a 7-0-0 record with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage.

• Chicago defenseman Mark Cundari leads the team with 8 shots on goal, including a goal in game 1. Rochester's Nick Deslauriers (LW) and Tim Schaller (LW) each have 8 shots on goal in the series. Chad Ruhwedel has 2 goals, 2 assists.

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