ST. PAUL, Minn. -- After being benched for nearly the entire third period of Game 2, Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy admitted two things:
"It definitely wasn't my best game," he said.
"I have all my friends and family watching, so that has a little effect, adds a little excitement."
On Tuesday, Leddy, who grew up in the Twin Cities area, had some of those family and friends there in person at the Xcel Energy Center, and he was hoping to put on a good show for them.
Then the lineups came out and Leddy discovered he was scratched along with Jeremy Morin, while Brandon Bollig, who sat Game 2, was back in as was defenseman Sheldon Brookbank.
"It was more about playing Brooksie," Quenneville said. "He came in against St. Louis and deserved the chance to play.
"He gives us a presence physically and I thought he played well tonight."
Even if they end up being eliminated by the Blackhawks for the second straight year, the education the Wild is receiving from the defending champs will no doubt be a benefit down the road.
"Last year they knocked us out, so we were watching them the rest of the time," Minnesota center Charlie Coyle said. "They know how to win, and they stick to that.
"Watching them maybe helps a little bit. We take what we learned from them last year into this year, and we're a better team because of it."
Finding his place:
While the Jeremy Morins, the Brandon Bolligs and others fight for playing time, it looks like rookie forward Joakim Nordstrom has quietly found himself a niche in the lineup.
"He gives us some speed, he gives us some pace, and he gives us some predictability defensively," Joel Quenneville said.
Nordstrom has seen action in four straight games.
"There was a point when I was playing in Rockford and I maybe didn't expect to be here playing," he said. "I was hoping to maybe be a black ace.
"As the season went on, I got called up, and I think I played pretty good in those last few games. I feel like I've earned being here."
Returning to the lineup after missing two months with a leg injury ... in the second round of the playoffs ... with your team down 2-0 to the Blackhawks?
Wow, welcome back, Keith Ballard.
"I think the biggest thing is not try to do too much, especially early," the veteran Wild defenseman said hours before he returned to the ice for Game 3.
"But, at the same time, you want to make an impact. You don't want to come in and just be a passenger and try to just get through the game. It's a fine line."
He said it:
"If and when I get back in, I'm not interested in being scratched again, so I'll use it as motivation."
-- Brandon Bollig, who was scratched for Game 2 but back in the lineup Tuesday night