The moment called for a little push, a subtle shove, perhaps a quick stick jab to the ribs when the officials' attention was focused elsewhere.

When the Wild ramped up the chippiness in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals, something — or someone — was missing in the Blackhawks' response.

Dave Bolland, aka The Rat, was trapped in street clothes.

"He's a disturber out there," Bolland's teammate Bryan Bickell said after practice Monday at the Xcel Energy Center. "This is his kind of game. You think about playoffs and that name comes up. He's missed right now, but he needs to get his injury right to be at his top performance."

Bolland has not played since suffering a groin injury during an April 22 game against the Canucks. It has kept the veteran center from playing during his favorite time of year, the time when getting under the skin of the likes of the Canucks' Sedin brothers, the Sharks' Joe Thornton or someone on an unsuspecting Wild team can make the difference in a postseason series.

"(It's) just the way I bring my game," Bolland said. "It's just playing hard and doing the defensive things and doing the right things. You take pride in always being the big-game player."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "Bolland in the playoffs takes his game to that playoffs level of intensity. He's been a very effective guy for us come playoff time."