Darcy Kuemper gets the start in Game 3 for Wild

Goalie Darcy Kuemper #35 of the Minnesota Wild defends the goal after entering the game in the...

Goalie Darcy Kuemper #35 of the Minnesota Wild defends the goal after entering the game in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche Game Two of the First Round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Pepsi Center on April 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/AFP)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:03 PM ET

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Wild are hoping that a new city, a new goalie and a new lineup translates into a new life.

With his team hanging from the edge of a cliff heading into Game 3 of their playoff series with the Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo said Monday that standing pat is not an option.

“You’re down 2-0 in a series and quite often when that happens you’re going to make some changes,” said Yeo. “So that’s where we’re at.”

Darcy Kuemper will start in goal in place of an embattled Ilya Bryzgalov and Dany Heatley will move from the press box to the fire, getting his first action of the playoffs after being a healthy scratch in the first two games.

Kyle Brodziak, a healthy scratch for the first time in his Wild career, is out.

Bryzgalov takes a seat after going 0-2 with a .822 save percentage in the first two games. Throw in the last game of the regular season and he’s given up 14 goals in his last three starts.

Kuemper, who’s been out with a lower body injury, hasn’t started a game since March 29 and hasn’t won one since March 13. He played the last 26 minutes of Game 2, stopping 14 of 14 shots, after Bryzgalov got the hook.

Neither goalie was made available as the Wild don’t allow their goalies to speak with reporters on game day.

“I thought he looked really good in practice, really confident,” said Yeo. “And in the game I thought he showed a lot of the same. We’re excited to see if he can continue that on.”


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Kuemper’s teammates are confident he’ll be able to step in and withstand the playoff pressure - which is being applied with significant force by the line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Paul Stastny, who’ve combined for 17 points in two games.

“It’s nice to see Darcy back and playing well,” said defenceman Charlie Coyle. “I think he’s ready. He’s been practising and stuff, he feels good. A couple of days ago he was already saying I feel good and I feel ready to go. He’s ready for this opportunity.”

As for Heatley, who was also scratched in seven of Minnesota’s last nine games down the stretch, the Wild need him to turn back the clock and help change the momentum of this series.

“He’s a veteran presence, a guy who has a lot of experience in the playoffs, more playoff points than anybody on our team,” said Yeo, who’s cheering for a happy ending to this story. “This is a guy who’s been an unbelievable pro, he worked, he’s had a great attitude, been supportive of his teammates, I’m excited. I’m really hoping he comes in and has a great game, not only for our team but for him, too.”

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@Sunmedia.ca

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