Harding's Game 1 performance, tenacity getting rave reviews

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He might not start Game 2 in Chicago, but Wild goalie Josh Harding is probably one of the best -- if not the best -- stories in the NHL right now.

A last-minute substitution for Niklas Backstrom, Harding -- who is battling M.S. -- stopped 35 of 37 Blackhawk shots Tuesday night, before falling in overtime, 2-1.

The sports world is taking notice.

One of the best takes -- from a Chicago bar, where Pioneer Press photographer Ben Garvin expected to hear some anti-Wild trash talk. All he got was love for Harding.

New York Times writer Pat Borzi wrote that Harding's return to the active roster last week  "inspired a nervous group of players who nearly squandered a playoff berth before securing the last seed in their final game of the season"

Chicago Tribune writer Brian Hamilton put it like this: By any sane measure, this is remarkable ... he's a starting goaltender in the Stanley Cup playoffs against the best team in hockey, until someone tells him he isn't."

As for the immediate future, here's the take from Pioneer Press writer Chad Graff: "How likely is it that a goalie who has played 117 NHL minutes the past 10 weeks keeps it up an entire series against the league's best team? To do so would be the story of the season for the Wild, if not the entire NHL."

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