Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

Follow Randball on Twitter

Thursday (Time for Wild's Backstrom to step up) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under NHL news Updated: December 19, 2013 - 8:51 AM

 

Josh Harding has played so startlingly well this season that it's easy to forget he was the No. 2 goalie coming into the year for the Wild.

 

Without his league-leading 1.51 goals against average, the Wild very likely would be buried in the standings. Instead, they are right in the playoff race.

And now we are going to get a glimpse of life without Harding, who is undergoing a minor adjustment in his treatment for multiple sclerosis. The great news across the board -- piled onto the fact that Harding is able to play at such a high level in the first place -- is that this sounds like a minor, planned thing. If all goes according to what the Wild say, Harding is expected back Dec. 27 against Winnipeg.

The Wild faces the Penguins, Rangers and Flyers -- three road games in five days -- leading up to their holiday break, which is followed by that Jets game and Harding's expected return. The Wild can ill-afford a major slip-up on this trip, and adding to its point total in the absence of Harding is essential in the crowded Western Conference.

That basically means this: It's time for Niklas Backstrom, the No. 1 goalie heading into the season and for the past several before it, to step up. The veteran, who will turn 36 in February, signed a 3-year deal this past offseason worth more than $10 million total.

He had offseason sports hernia surgery and has battled numerous other ailments while posting numbers that, over the span of a full season, would be career lows. He has a 2-5-2 record, a goals against average of 2.93 and a save percentage of .900.

That goals against average ranks 36th in the NHL; Harding's, of course, ranks No. 1. Plain and simple, a team that seems to win a lot of games 2-1 and 3-2 needs the stingy old Backstrom to emerge in these next three games -- and quite possibly more down the stretch to give Harding more breaks.

  • 6
  • Comments

ADVERTISEMENT

Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 0 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 4
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 3
St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 5
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 5 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. McCarthy 2
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 1 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: C. Lee 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 2
Cleveland - WP: Z. McAllister 3 FINAL
Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez 2
Washington - WP: D. Storen 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 3
Seattle - LP: F. Rodney 2 FINAL
Texas - WP: P. Figueroa 3
Boston - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: L. Garcia 4
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 6 FINAL
Houston - LP: J. Williams 4
Toronto 0 Postponed
Minnesota 0
Oakland 4 Top 12th Inning
LA Angels 4
Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 4
Los Angeles - LP: J. Howell 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Machi 2
Chicago 86 FINAL
Charlotte 91
Indiana 101 FINAL
Orlando 86
Atlanta 111 FINAL
Milwaukee 103
Dallas 105 FINAL
Memphis 106
Detroit 111 FINAL
Oklahoma City 112
Houston 100 FINAL
New Orleans 105
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
San Antonio 100
Brooklyn 85 FINAL
Cleveland 114
Philadelphia 100 FINAL
Miami 87
Utah 136 FINAL
Minnesota 130
Washington 118 FINAL
Boston 102
Toronto 92 FINAL
New York 95
Golden State 116 FINAL
Denver 112
LA Clippers 104 FINAL
Portland 110
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Montreal 5 FINAL(OT)
Tampa Bay 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 4
Dallas 3 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should private schools have their own state tournaments?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT