ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Wild right wing Jason Pominville returned to the lineup Tuesday for Game 4 of the Western Conference playoff series against Chicago.
Pominville hasn’t played since taking an elbow to the chin in a game against Los Angeles two weeks ago from Kings captain Dustin Brown.
Pominville, acquired by the Wild right before the deadline last month in a trade with Buffalo, declined to be specific about his injury in a brief interview with reporters following the team’s morning skate.
“Obviously not being on the ice the best time of the year has not been easy. It’s been a tough rehab. A few things have gone different ways, but I think I’ll prefer to comment on those once the season is over,” said Pominville, who was acquired along with a 2014 fourth-round draft pick from the Sabres in exchange for prospects Matt Hackett and Johan Larsson, and selections in the first and second round in this year’s draft.
Pominville acknowledged being upset by the hit from Brown, who drew a two-game suspension from the NHL.
“I know he’s a guy that plays hard and hits hard, but I just don’t think the elbows are needed when you try to hit a guy,” Pominville said.
Coach Mike Yeo called Pominville’s presence “another good step” but declined to declare him in or out of the lineup.
“I’m just doing my best, trying to get the proper treatment done, doing my best to get back to where I need to be,” Pominville said.
Pominville was on the fourth line, filling in for the injured Mike Rupp. Darcy Kuemper was the backup goalie behind Josh Harding, with Niklas Backstrom still out after suffering a lower-body injury in warm-ups before Game 1.
Also out for the Wild due to injuries were defenceman Clayton Stoner and centre Zenon Konopka.
Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith was absent from the morning skate because his wife had a baby boy, but the first-time father was back with the team in time for the game.
“That’s good news all the way around,” coach Joel Quenneville said before the game.
Allowing Keith to be present for the birth was an easy decision, the coach said. Family comes first.
“I’m very happy he was there in time and it all worked out,” Quenneville said.
The Blackhawks made one change, putting Daniel Carcillo on the fourth line in place of Brandon Bollig. Carcillo was a healthy scratch the first two games.