Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Niklas Backstrom injured in warmups, Josh Harding starting

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage, Wild news Updated: April 30, 2013 - 7:02 PM

In a potential nightmare for the Wild, No. 1 goalie Niklas Backstrom got hurt during warmups tonight and will not start Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Backstrom, who tied for the league lead with 24 wins, looked like he stretched awkwardly when reaching for a rebound early in warmups. Looked like a lower-body injury on the left side.

Harding hasn't started in the NHL since giving up two goals on four shots and being pulled 6:45 in against Chicago on Jan. 30. His lone postseason action came in 2008 when he played 20 minutes and stopped all 11 shots.

He missed more than two months due to complications for multiple sclerosis.

There is no backup behind Harding. For some reason, the Wild doesn't have Darcy Kuemper here even though Houston doesn't have a playoff game tonight and they're in nearby Grand Rapids.


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