Hackett had quite the journey for first game in Wild uniform

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 10, 2011 - 12:22 AM

When needed in a pinch Nov. 23, he did all he could to catch his flight from Houston.


Minnesota Wild goaltender Matt Hackett

Photo: Josie Lepe, MCT

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GLENDALE, ARIZ. — So much was made of Paul Deutsch, the 51-year-old print and embroidery storeowner who played goal in warmups for the Wild on Nov. 23, that what Matt Hackett had to go through to actually make it to the game was overshadowed.

Hackett rushed to Minnesota to back up Josh Harding because Niklas Backstrom became a father. Hackett arrived at Xcel Energy Center seven minutes before the game against Nashville and was dressed in four minutes.

"Driving to the airport in Houston was the most insane thing," said the 21-year-old goaltender, who is 2-0 with a 1.01 goals-against average and .974 save percentage in relief of the injured Backstrom and Harding. "The roads were packed and my trainer brought me.

"I was going to miss my flight and this one exit was just dropped, so I told him to take my Jeep off-road. He cut across this huge -- I don't want to say forest, but there were big trees and everything. I got a few scratches on my car."

Once at the airport, Hackett sped through security and a cart took him to the gate, where the airline held his plane.

Hackett says the past two games -- a victory in his debut in relief of Harding in San Jose and a 42-save victory over Los Angeles -- were more stressful.

But he went the first 102 minutes, 48 seconds of his NHL career without giving up a goal -- an all-time record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"It's pretty crazy. Just a crazy feeling," Hackett said. "To set a record right off the bat is pretty special. With Twitter [@matthackett31] and Facebook, my phone is blowing up the last few days. I've gotten over 3,000 e-mails."

His first call after beating the Sharks was to his parents, Angela and Chris. His mom was crying. After the Kings victory, he couldn't sleep until 5 a.m.

Coach Mike Yeo didn't know yet (or wouldn't say) Friday whether Hackett would get a second consecutive start Saturday against Phoenix. Backstrom, getting over a groin injury, practiced.

"We'll see how Backs feels," Yeo said. "Hack is showing well, so if Backs is not at 100 percent, why risk it?"

Josh Harding won't be in the lineup, however. He sustained what Yeo described as whiplash Tuesday and returned to Minnesota to be examined by a doctor. He is expected to be at practice Monday.


• Center Kyle Brodziak didn't face supplemental discipline after a questionable boarding major and game misconduct call in Los Angeles. Anze Kopitar drew the penalty, then returned for the power play. "If you're lying on the ice for five minutes like that and play the next shift, you're obviously not that hurt," Brodziak said, sarcastically.

• Cal Clutterbuck, who missed Thursday's game, practiced Friday and said he felt good. He'll test his leg at Saturday's morning skate before deciding whether he can play.


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