Wild wins at home, but loses Harding to injury

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 25, 2013 - 6:33 AM

The Wild goalie suffered a leg injury in the second period on his special night.


It’s been about a year since Josh Harding was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

The Wild goaltender has persevered since and even launched a charity to raise awareness and dollars for those afflicted by the incurable autoimmune disease.

Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center was “Harding’s Hope Night.” Off to a sensational start this season, Harding was en route to another outstanding game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

That was until he was injured while giving up his first goal in more than 100 minutes. Harding gutted through the rest of the second period before Niklas Backstrom, making his first appearance in 16 nights, backstopped the Wild during the final 20 minutes of its 3-1 win.

“The guys battled for us like no one else in the room,” defenseman Clayton Stoner said of Harding. “Backy came in [during] a tough spot [with Carolina on a power play] and he showed us what he can do. We’re confident in both of them, and we’ll just move forward with Backy.”

Coach Mike Yeo didn’t have an update on the severity of Harding’s lower-body injury. After Alex Semin’s power-play goal, Harding was trying to shake off a leg issue the final 14 minutes of the second and earned the victory by stopping 20 of 21 shots.

In nine games since Backstrom strained his right knee Oct. 8, Harding has surrendered eight goals. He has a 1.00 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage.

Backstrom, who said Thursday morning that he wasn’t feeling “normal” yet, stopped all seven shots he saw in the third. Trainers told Backstrom during the second period that it appeared Harding was playing hurt. Backstrom found out with six minutes left in the second intermission that he would need to get ready.

“Sitting for a long time on the bench, it’s tough to be comfortable out there, but the guys helped me a lot,” Backstrom said.

It was a big win for the Wild, especially with a first-round rematch against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on deck in a home-and-home series.

Nino Niederreiter scored his first career power-play goal, Zach Parise scored the eventual winner and Dany Heatley snapped a 10-game goose egg with his first goal of the season on a Matt Cooke gift-wrapped empty-netter.

The 5-3-3 Wild, which has won four in a row at home, caught a break four minutes in when Carolina’s starter, 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Cam Ward, sustained a lower-body injury. He’ll miss up to a month. Justin Peters, only in uniform because ex-Wild Anton Khudobin is hurt, made his season debut.

The Wild capitalized, scoring on its first two shots against Peters. After Mikko Koivu drew a power play, Mikael Granlund set Niederreiter up with a filthy pass in front. Niederreiter said there was eye contact with Granlund before he roofed his second goal of the season.

Three minutes later, Parise whacked Jared Spurgeon’s rebound off the post out of the air. The goal was Parise’s fifth of the season and ended a five-game drought.

But the Wild took its foot off the gas and took two penalties in the first four minutes of the second period to turn the momentum. Semin scored, and the Wild couldn’t turn the tide the rest of the period. Harding held the fort, though, until Backstrom and the Wild regrouped in the third.

Its blue line did another admirable job, especially with Jonas Brodin sidelined by a broken cheekbone.

“We didn’t have our best game, but at the end of the day, I think we’ve lost some this year that we deserved to win,” Parise said. “Now it’s nice to be on the other side.”


  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Wild 3, Carolina 1

    Thursday October 24, 2013

  • Photo gallery: Wild 3, Carolina 1

    Thursday October 24, 2013

    The Wild defeated Carolina 3-1 at home on Thursday night.

  • Wild notes: Heatley finally gets first goal of the season

    Friday October 25, 2013

    The once-feared goal scorer, off to the worst start in his career, scored his first goal of the season with an empty-net power-play goal Thursday.

  • Ex-UMD standouts meet again as pros

    Thursday October 24, 2013

    Justin Faulk and Justin Fontaine got to go head-to-head Thursday night

  • Postgame: Goalies Harding, Ward both injured

    Thursday October 24, 2013

    Josh Harding has given up eight goals in nine games, but it may be Niklas Backstrom's turn in the net again

  • Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward, left, blocks a shot off the stick...

  • After Josh Harding left with an injury after two periods, Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom was back in the net in the third on Thursday for the first time since he strained his right knee Oct. 8. He stopped all seven shots he saw.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How will the Wild finish out the hockey season?

Weekly Question