Backstrom practices Wednesday, is Harding pushing for starting spot?


Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom has missed the team's last four games after injuring his knee against Nashville last Tuesday, a game the Wild almost came back to win.

Minnesota is giving Backstrom all the time he needs to get healthy after his injury, and according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, its paying off.

Part of the reason the Wild can be so relaxed with Backstrom's comeback is the play of Josh Harding, who has won three of the four games since Backstrom's injury, while also performing well in relief duty of Backstrom last Tuesday and Darcy Kuemper last night.

With how good Harding has been in Backstrom's absence, is a goalie controversy brewing? Here's a quick look at their recent career numbers.

2009-10: Backstrom started 60 games for Minnesota, winning 26 while putting up a .903 save percentage and 2.72 goals against average. Harding started the remaining 22 games, posting a superior .905 save percentage, but a brutal 3.05 goals against average.

2010-11: Backstrom started 51 games, winning just 22, while posting an improved .916 save percentage and 2.66 goals against average. Harding missed the entire year after tearing his ACL and MCL.

2011-12: Backstrom started 46 games, going 19-18 while once again besting his previous year's stats with a .919 save percentage and 2.43 goals against. Harding returned to start 30 games, rivaling Backstrom's numbers with a .917 save percentage and 2.62 goals against.

2012-13: In the shortened, 48 game season, Backstrom appeared in 42 games, putting up a 2.48 goals against and .909 save percentage. Harding played in just five games while battling his MS diagnosis.

Backstrom hasn't ranked in the top half in goals against among starters since 2008-09, and has ranked 20th or worse three of those four seasons.

While history is still on Backstrom's side based on the opportunities he's been given and longevity in the league, it is at the very least a big positive for the Wild to have goaltender with the skill of Harding behind him, playing at the level he is now.

Next Up


Elvis Costello cancels Mystic Lake show, will play vax-requiring First Ave instead

Those who bought tickets to Mystic Lake will be refunded, and need to buy new tickets.


23 Minnesotans infected with salmonella linked to onions

Four of Minnesota residents were hospitalized. None have died.

Anthony Edwards

Timberwolves smash Rockets in season opener

The Timberwolves showed they have plenty of firepower in a victory over Houston.

Knuth - Nezhad - side by side

Frey challengers Knuth, Nezhad agree to rank each other 2nd

They're urging supporters to do the same on Nov. 2.

Jerome Horton - Sherburne Co. Jail - CROP

Charges: Man lied to buy gun later used by St. Paul mass shooting suspect

He's accused of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm.

Screen Shot 2021-06-04 at 6.30.24 AM

BCA releases investigative file in Winston Smith's shooting death

The file contains 1,000 pages of documents, hundreds of photos and dozens of audio files.


Fire at Mpls. pizza joint weeks after opening, owners suspect arson

The owners arrived at work Tuesday to find the building on fire.

vaccine, covid

New COVID charts show hospitalization, death rates based on vaccine status

The unvaccinated are far more likely than the fully vaccinated to become hospitalized or die.

Flickr - Superior National Forest Boundary Waters

White House begins process to ban new mining near BWCAW

The stated goal is to protect the "unique natural wonder" of the BWCAW.

Autumn Merrick, Autumn Rose Merrick

Man charged in shootout, crash that killed 18-year-old on scooter

Autumn Rose Merrick was with a friend near the Holiday gas station.