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Minnesota Sports Briefs: Wild plays Game 5 tonight in Chicago

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CHICAGO - The Minnesota Wild will try to avoid elimination when they battle the Blackhawks tonight in Game Five of their NHL Western Conference quarterfinal series in Chicago.

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The Blackhawks blanked the Wild 3-0 on Tuesday in St. Paul to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven set. If the Wild win tonight, they would host Game Six on Saturday. The puck drops tonight at 8:30 p.m.

Here is the best-of-seven series schedule and results for the NHL Quarterfinal matchup between Minnesota and Chicago:

Tuesday (4/30): Chicago 2, Minnesota 1 (overtime-final; CHI leads series 1-0)

Friday (5/3): Chicago 5, Minnesota 2 (CHI leads series 2-0)

Sunday (5/5): Minnesota 3, Chicago 2 (overtime-final; CHI leads series 2-1)

Tuesday (5/7): Blackhawks 3, Wild 0 (CHI leads series 3-1)

Thursday (5/9): Wild at Blackhawks, 8:30pm

Saturday (5/11): Blackhawks at Wild, if necessary, TBA

Sunday (5/12): Wild at Blackhawks, if necessary, TBA

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The schedule for the for the University of Minnesota men's hockey team was released yesterday, and of course it has a completely new look. The Golden Gophers will be competing in the new Big Ten hockey conference starting this year. Minnesota will begin the year with several non-conference games against familiar foes like Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State-Mankato, Bemidji State, Notre Dame, and Boston College. The Gophers will also take part in a tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in late January 2014 that will feature all Minnesota teams. The new six-team Big Ten will have each team play 20 league games, with the conference opener on November 29th at home against rival Wisconsin.

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The University of Minnesota's men's basketball team will host Florida State on December 3rd in the 15th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Golden Gophers beat the Seminoles 77-68 in Tallahassee this past November in the same event. The Gophers full schedule will be announced at a later date.

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The University of Minnesota baseball team dropped a non-conference game yesterday at home against UW-Milwaukee. The Panthers beat the Golden Gophers 2-1 when a Minnesota throwing error in the seventh inning allowed the go-ahead run to score. Minnesota leads the Big Ten standings and hosts second-place Nebraska this weekend for a three-game series.

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Three University of Minnesota softball players have been selected as first-team All-Big Ten members. Pitcher Sara Moulton of Eagan, third baseman Kaitlyn Richardson of Phoenix, and infielder Tyler Walker of San Jose were all on the top honor squad. This is the first year since 2005 that the Gophers have had any representation on the league's first-team. Minnesota is the third-seed in the Big Ten postseason softball tournament which begins today in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Gophers have a first-round bye and will play tomorrow against the winner of today's game between Illinois and Penn State.

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The Dayton administration is working on a new revenue source to pay the state's portion of a new Vikings stadium -- but the governor won't say what it is, because he "wouldn't want to spoil the surprise." The governor says sports memorabilia is "not currently" part of the proposal to back-up faltering e-pulltab revenues, nor would the Vikings have to kick in more money. Republican state Senator Sean Nienow says he has no idea what the new revenue source is -- but it has to be something like shifting funds around or creating a new lottery game. Nienow adds it has to be a permanent solution because a fund shift for one year is "not gonna get us there."

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The Minnesota Vikings will reportedly play at TCF Bank Stadium in 2014 and 2015 while their new stadium is built on the old Metrodome site. The Vikings and Golden Gophers have reached a facility use agreement and the University of Minnesota Board of Regents will vote on the matter today.

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The Minnesota Lynx are slated for a late morning workout at their practice area of the Target Center today as part of WNBA training camp. Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve says so far she is pleased with what she's seen from her team, particularly the way they've spaced themselves on offense. Minnesota opens the preseason slate against Washington on May 18th in Bismarck, North Dakota. The regular season opener is set for June 1st at the Target Center against Connecticut.

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Penalties to Joe Gibbs Racing are being significantly reduced. The National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel lowered the fines assessed last month for an illegal engine used in Matt Kenseth's race-winning car at Kansas. Kenseth and owner Joe Gibbs will both be penalized with a loss of 12 points instead of the original 50. That elevates Kenseth from 11th in the point standings to fourth.

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