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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Wild beat Colorado, 5-2, force Game 7

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Wild forced a decisive Game Seven in their NHL Western Conference quarterfinal series against Colorado with a 5-2 win last night in St. Paul.  Minnesota star Zach Parise scored twice in the win, including the go-ahead tally in the third period, which gave the Wild a 3-2 lead.  Minnesota added a pair of empty net goals in the final 90-seconds of the game to stretch the lead to 5-2.  Mikael Granlund scored a first period goal, while Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella cashed in the empty net markers.  Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 21 saves in the win.  Paul Stastny and Nick Holden notched the Avalanche goals.  Game Seven is set for tomorrow night in Denver at 8:30 p.m.  Tomorrow's winner will advance to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference semifinals.


The Pittsburgh Penguins are moving on in the NHL playoffs after a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.  The Pens won the series 4-2 and will face the New York Rangers or Philadelphia Flyers next.  Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Kings avoided the boot on home ice, beating the San Jose Sharks 4-1.  The Sharks host Game Seven on Wednesday.  There's just one game on tap Tuesday as the Philadelphia Flyers look to force a Game Seven hosting the New York Rangers.


The Minnesota Twins are scheduled to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in game one of a three-game interleague series tonight at Target Field in Minneapolis.  The slated first pitch is set for 7:10 p.m., but there's a growing concern on whether the game will be played.  The weather forecast calls for rain showers much of the day and temperatures are projected to be around 37-degrees at first pitch.  If the game goes, Minnesota will send Kyle Gibson to the mound to take on the Dodgers' ace Zach Greinke.


Twins officials say tickets for the August 2nd Paul McCartney concert at Target Field are sold out.  Tickets went on sale to the general public at 10 am this morning and were gone about 20 minutes later.  Fans who were unable to get tickets can check back at twinsbaseball-dot-com as limited seating may become available for sale through the promoter.  Around 40-thousand people are expected for the outdoor concert. 


 The Minnesota Vikings begin a three-day voluntary veteran mini-camp this morning at Winter Park in Eden Prairie.  First-year head coach Mike Zimmer and his staff will be able to work with the veterans in football-related activities.  Previously, all the players could do was strength and conditioning in the weeks leading up to this camp.  The team will make players available for interviews on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.


Here is the 2014 schedule for the Minnesota Vikings (all home games at TCF Bank Stadium):

Friday, August 8 (preseason) - vs. Oakland, 7pm

Saturday, August 16 (preseason) - vs. Arizona, 7:30pm

Saturday, August 23 (preseason) - at Kansas City, 7pm

Thursday, August 28 (preseason) - at Tennessee, 7pm

Sunday, September 7 - at St. Louis, noon

Sunday, September 14 - vs. New England, noon

Sunday, September 21 - at New Orleans, noon

Sunday, September 28 - vs. Atlanta, 3:25pm

Thursday, October 2 - at Green Bay, 7:25pm

Sunday October 12 - vs. Detroit, noon

Sunday, October 19 - at Buffalo, noon

Sunday, October 26 - at Tampa Bay, noon

Sunday November 2 - vs. Washington, noon

Sunday, November 9 - BYE WEEK

Sunday, November 16 - at Chicago, noon

Sunday, November 23 - vs. Green Bay, noon

Sunday, November 30 - vs. Carolina, noon

Sunday, December 7 - vs. NY Jets, noon

Sunday, December 14 - at Detroit, noon

Sunday, December 21 - at Miami, noon

Sunday, December 28 - vs. Chicago, noon


The WNBA Minnesota Lynx have a late morning workout today as part of Day Three of training camp.  Several veterans are not taking part in the early portion of this training camp because of their commitment to their overseas teams this season.  Hutchinson native Lindsay Whalen is one of those players still competing for her international team, as is Janelle McCarville, Seimone Augustus, Rebekkuh Brunson, and a few others.  Star player Maya Moore is at training camp and says thinks if the club puts its mind to it, it can be the best Lynx team yet.  The Lynx open the regular season with a road game at Washington May 16th.  The home season opens for Minnesota with a game against Connecticut on May 18th.  


Golden Gopher softball pitcher Sara Groenewegen is this week's Big Ten Softball Freshman of the Week.  The White Rock, British Columbia native threw a no-hitter against Penn State in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday.  This is Groenewegen's third weekly Freshman of the Week honor this season, plus she also has a Pitcher of the Week honor.  Groenewegen is 12-and-1 on the season with five shutouts and a 2.26 earned run average.  University of Minnesota junior baseball pitcher Neal Kunik of Eagan is this week's Big Ten Conference Pitcher of the Week.  Kunik struck out a career high eight batters in a seven inning shutout over Penn State on Saturday.  Kunik now has a 1.27 ERA on the season.