Josh Harding’s first start in the NHL since his return from injured reserve is going to be Game 1 of the playoffs for the Minnesota Wild.
Minnesota’s starting goaltender, Niklas Backstrom, was injured in pregame warmups Tuesday. Backstrom, who tied for the league lead with 24 wins, started the final 15 games this season for the Wild and 31 of the last 33 games in the regular season.
Harding hasn’t started an NHL game since Jan. 30. He made one relief appearance of Backstrom on Feb. 7 before going on injured reserve as he adjusted to a change of medication with the 28-year-old fighting multiple sclerosis. Harding returned to the NHL last week following a conditioning stint with the Houston Aeros in the American Hockey League. His only appearance since returning was a 41-minute relief of Backstrom on April 26, when he allowed three goals.
Backstrom was going through warmups and stretched across when he appeared to injure himself. He stayed down on the ice on his knees.
Harding has played one game in the playoffs in his NHL career, playing 20 minutes in 2008.