Chicago Blackhawks: Josh Harding

Wild's Harding to start in Game 5

May, 9, 2013
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- The Minnesota Wild will start Josh Harding in goal in Thursday' critical Game 5 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks, coach Mike Yeo said.

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Wild's Yeo mum on goaltender plans for G5

May, 8, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Minnesota Wild's Josh HardingHannah Foslien/Getty ImagesInspirational Minnesota goaltender Josh Harding left Game 4 on Tuesday favoring his leg.
Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo is playing his team's goaltender situation close to his vest heading into Thursday's Game 5 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Yeo wouldn't disclose Wednesday who will be his starting or backup goaltenders for Game 5. It's unknown if Yeo is being coy out of necessity due to recent injuries to goaltenders Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding or he's hoping to catch the Blackhawks off guard.

Yeo said it was the latter while laughing about it during his media availability on Wednesday.

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Rapid Reaction: Wild 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT)

May, 5, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Here’s a quick look at the Minnesota Wild’s 3-2 overtime win over Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series at the Xcel Energy Center on Sunday.

How it happened: Wild forward Jason Zucker delivered the game-winning goal after two minutes and 15 seconds of overtime. The Wild put an emphasis on being more physical and aggressive after dropping the first two games to the Blackhawks, and that’s exactly what they did. The Wild hit the Blackhawks up and down the ice and made everything difficult on them. The Wild outhit the Blackhawks 34-13 and also carried that over to their offensive game by outshooting the Blackhawks 37-27. It wasn’t until the later stages of the third period that the Blackhawks found some life again. Down 2-1 in the third period, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith blasted a shot from the left circle into the net to tie the game at two at 17:14. Wild forward Zach Parise initially put his team ahead with a backhanded shot into the top right corner at 3:09 of the third period. Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya scored the game’s first goal in the first period, and the Wild’s Pierre-Marc Bouchard answered later in the period. Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane accounted for two assists and has five assists in the series. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 34 saves, and Wild goaltender Josh Harding made 25 saves.

Player of the game: Zucker came through with the game-winner.

What it means: The Wild needed to win Sunday to keep their series hopes alive. The Blackhawks still lead the series 2-1, but the Wild found a formula which they will continue to try to use in the coming games against the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks could have shrugged off a loss against a desperate team, but Sunday’s loss has to be disturbing to them in the way the Wild dominated most of the game.

What’s next: Game 4 of the series will be held in Minnesota on Tuesday. Game 5 will be in Chicago on Thursday.

Harding to start in goal for Wild in Game 2

May, 3, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding will start in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, coach Mike Yeo said.

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Backup goaltender Karlsson prepared

May, 2, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
[+] EnlargeHenrik Karlsson
Bill Smith/NHLI/Getty ImagesBlackhawks goalie Henrik Karlsson warms up before a game against the Canucks.
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks backup goaltender Henrik Karlsson will prepare Friday as if he’s going to play in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Minnesota Wild.

Karlsson’s mentality isn’t a reaction to witnessing Minnesota Wild backup goaltender Josh Harding be called upon to replace Niklas Backstrom as the team’s starter less than 30 minutes prior to Tuesday’s game because of an injury. Karlsson always prepares physically and mentally to enter any game in which he’s the backup.

“Just train good and prepare and rest like you’re supposed to play and try to be focused,” said Karlsson after Thursday’s practice. “I just try to be ready. I’ve been a backup for a couple years, so I’ve been thrown in there in games. I think I have a lot of experience about that. Hopefully, nothing happens. But if something happens, I’ll be ready to step in and I’ll feel good.”

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Hawks planning to adapt offense to Wild's D

May, 1, 2013
Powers By Scott Powers
Blackhawks/WildRob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsJonathan Toews says the Hawks won't make excuses for scoring just two goals against the Wild in Game 1.
CHICAGO -- Aside from the final score, the Minnesota Wild achieved Tuesday much of what they had hoped in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wild slowed the Blackhawks' offensive attack, got in the way of their shots and forced a tight one-goal game which was only decided by the Blackhawks in the final five minutes of overtime.

The Wild's game plan was no surprise to the Blackhawks. They assumed the Wild would play in such a fashion and expect to see more of it the rest of the series. But the Blackhawks hope to put some more pucks past Wild goaltenders in Game 2 and beyond.

"It goes back -- Minnesota has always defended the front of their net extremely well," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Wednesday. "They collapse like a lot of teams in our league do. They protect that slot area. It's tough to penetrate with direct plays. Indirect plays off the goalie is the best way to get that guy the puck in the slot, so hopefully we get more pucks and more bodies in traffic at the net and look to get second and third opportunities. But the clean looks through the middle of the ice at their end is going to be hard to find."

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Hawks take the panic out of pressure

May, 1, 2013
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
CHICAGO -- When Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom left the ice with an injury before the game started, Chicago Blackhawks fans probably expected an easy win over backup goalie Josh Harding.

Maybe the Blackhawks did, too.

The last time the Hawks faced Harding on Jan. 30, he was pulled from the game after two goals in the first seven minutes. Harding, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the fall, hasn't started a game since then, and played only twice.

But this is the playoffs, after all, and in the NHL it's often hard to tell the seeds apart, let alone the dominant goaltenders (read: Corey Crawford) from the benchwarmers.

That's why everyone loves the Stanley Cup playoffs. The game begins with a goalie change and ends with Bryan Bickell celebrating an overtime goal.

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Patrick Sharp
78 34 44 13
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26