Josh Harding starts for Wild
CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom left the ice during pregame warmups and was replaced by Josh Harding as the team's starter prior to Game 1 of their first-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
After the game, a 2-1 Blackhawks overtime win, Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said he wasn't sure when Backstrom might return.
"Don't have much of an update for you [on Backstrom's status]," Yeo said. "Lower body. Pretty much [was] getting ready to pull up the lineup and post the lineup and sure enough find out that he's not suited to go. So that was a bit of a curveball to say the least."
Backstrom was 24-15-3 with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage during the regular season. He was tied with two other goaltenders for most wins during the regular season.
Harding was 1-1-0 with a 3.24 goals-against average and .863 save percentage in five games this season after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the fall. He started against the Blackhawks on Jan. 30 and was pulled after allowing two goals on four shots in the game's first seven minutes. He played in one game in April, none in March, one in February and three in January.
The Wild do not have any other goaltenders on their roster.