We haven’t seen the last of Matt Cooke in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Minnesota Wild forward is expected to return to his team’s lineup for Game 4 of its second-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night after missing the last seven games due to suspension.
The veteran winger was given the ban for a dangerous and dirty knee-to-knee hit on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie, who was not able to return to the Wild-Avalanche Round 1 series because of an injury suffered in the collision.
Cooke was actually making a strong impact for the Wild in Round 1 by playing quality defense against the Colorado forward duo of Nathan MacKinnon and Paul Stastny. He likely will fulfill that role again, but his task is even more difficult against a Blackhawks team loaded with elite offensive talent.
Cooke’s return to the lineup might result in trade-deadline acquisition Matt Moulson not playing in Game 4. Moulson has tallied only three points (one goal, two assists) in 10 playoff games, and is also battling a lower body injury, per head coach Mike Yeo.
#mnwild Matt Moulson looks to be the odd-man out with Matt Cooke's pending return to the lineup.—
Randy Sportak (@SUNRandySportak) May 08, 2014
Game 4 of the series is Friday night in Minnesota. Chicago has a 2-1 series lead after being shut out in Game 3.