Niklas Backstrom still out, Josh Harding starts Game 2 for Wild

Josh Harding will make the start for Minnesota in Game 2. (USATSI)
Josh Harding will make the start for Minnesota in Game 2. (USATSI)

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Josh Harding will make his second straight start for the Minnesota Wild when they face the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series on Friday night.

Harding was the surprise starter for the Wild in Game 1, a 2-1 overtime loss, after Niklas Backstrom was injured during pregame warmups.

Backstrom is with the team in Chicago but will not be available due to a lower body injury.

Backing up Harding will be Darcy Kuemper.

Harding's story is an incredible one as he missed most of the season after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis during the offsesaon. He appeared in just five games for the Wild and before Tuesday had not started a game since Jan. 30. He's been one of the better backup goalies in the league for a couple of years now and was expected to leave Minnesota in free agency to potentially find a starting job elsewhere. Instead, Harding signed a contract extension to remain with the Wild.

He played extremely well on Tuesday and gave the Wild a chance, stopping 35 of the 37 shots he faced.

Going up against the No. 1 seed Blackhawks, the team that finished with the best record in the NHL this season, the Wild are probably going to need a similar performance on Friday.

CBS Sports Writer

Adam Gretz has been writing about the NHL and taking an analytical approach to the game since the start of the 2008 season. A member of the PHWA since 2015, he has spent more than three years covering... Full Bio

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