Setoguchi could be 'X' factor in playoffs

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 29, 2013 - 6:52 AM
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Wild right winger Devin Setoguchi, left, pursued the puck along with Avalanche right winger P.A. Parenteau in the first period Saturday.

Photo: David Zalubowski, Associated Press

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If the Wild has any chance to compete with the Chicago Blackhawks, it must get Devin Setoguchi going. When the Wild was riding high for much of February and March, Setoguchi caught fire, scoring 12 goals and 21 points in a 24-game stretch.

The good news is Setoguchi, as streaky a goal-scorer as there is, ended a 14-game goalless drought with his winning goal in Saturday’s victory at Colorado — the game that clinched a playoff spot for Minnesota.

“It’s kind of how our team has been the whole year,” he said. “We went on rolls and then downslides. But in the playoffs, you’ve got to just work. Goals will come then. I got one now and I know what I need do to keep it going.”

Setoguchi breaking the goose egg bodes well heading into the postseason. He might be only 26, but he has appeared in 48 playoff games, scoring 14 goals and 24 points. Included in those 14 markers are three overtime winners.

“It’s just fun hockey,” Setoguchi said of the playoffs. “It’s a different animal, and I’m comfortable in it. I’ve been there almost 50 games. It’s a lot about emotions. Whoever can control their emotions and put in the work and make sure every play is the right play, that’s the team that is going to win.”

No update on Pominville

With no media access Sunday, there also was no update as to whether injured Wild forward Jason Pominville will be able to practice Monday and be available for Game 1.

Pominville missed the last two games of the regular season because of a head injury after being elbowed Tuesday by Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown.

If Pominville returns to the lineup, coach Mike Yeo will have an interesting lineup decision.

Jason Zucker was recalled from Houston of the AHL to play against Colorado on Saturday, and the second line was better than it has been in weeks. Zucker was fast and threatening, and the trio combined for 11 shots. It would be hard to break that up.

If Pominville is ready, Yeo might opt to reinsert him on a third line with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Kyle Brodziak and return to a Mike Rupp-Torrey Mitchell-Cal Clutterbuck fourth line. That could leave Zenon Konopka as the odd guy out.

Etc.

• During the playoffs, the salary cap ceases to exist as well as roster maximums.

If teams wish, they can place a maximum three players from their minor league team onto their NHL roster and alternate them at will. Once an affiliate is eliminated from the playoffs, every player on an NHL contract is at their disposal.

The Wild’s affiliate, Houston, is playing in the AHL playoffs, so it would be subject to the three-player rule. Chicago’s affiliate, Rockford, is not, which is why the Blackhawks were able to call up eight players last week.

Don’t be surprised if the Wild recalls defenseman Marco Scandella on Monday. He has been playing for most the year in Houston and could step right into the Wild lineup. The 2008 second-round pick  has played 83 NHL games.

• Blackhawks center Dave Bolland is questionable for Game 1 because of a groin injury. Goalie Ray Emery sustained a lower-body injury last week but is expected to back up Corey Crawford.

• Ryan Suter, a Norris Trophy candidate, led the NHL by averaging 27 minutes, 16 seconds a game. That also shattered the Wild team record. Among defensemen, Suter finished third with 32 points and second with 28 assists.

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