Defensive boost for the Wild, Kuemper to dress, Ballard to play


The Wild's defense will get a big boost prior to tonight's Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Goaltender Darcy Kuemper will be in uniform for the Wild and defenseman Keith Ballard is expected to return to the lineup.

According to Pro Hockey Talk, Kuemper will serve as the backup to Ilya Bryzgalov, in the elimination game.

Kuemper has missed the last five games after suffering an upper body injury. He had played well, starting five games in the opening round against Colorado, prior to getting hurt.

Kuemper was 3-1-1 in those games with a 2.03 GAA and a .913 save percentage and recorded one shutout.

Journeyman John Curry has dressed as Bryzgalov's backup through the first five games, but did not see any action.

It's the third time in the post season the Wild have faced elimination, it will be the first time with Bryzgalov starting in goal.

There was more good news for the Wild.

KSTP reports Ballard was also a participant in the morning skate. He will replace Nate Prosser in the lineup. Ballard also suffered an upper-body injury because of an illegal hit from Chicago's Brandon Bollig in Game 4.

Bollig was suspended by the league for two games, because of the hit. He will serve the second game of that suspension tonight.

Wild coach Mike Yeo said forward Matt Moulson will not be in the lineup tonight. He could return for a potential Game 7 on Thursday in Chicago.

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