FRIDAY’S STORY LINE: The streaking Wild will go for their eighth consecutive win Friday night in Dallas. The man who has been in net for every one of the previous seven victories, Niklas Backstrom, was left at home in Minneapolis and will likely get the nod Saturday against Los Angeles. Backstrom, who has started 16 of Minnesota’s last 17 games, is simply getting a rest.
“We have been riding him hard. …” coach Mike Yeo said. “I think (the rest) is well-deserved.”
Matt Hackett will make his season debut with Minnesota. Hackett went 3-6-0 with a 2.37 GAA last season with the Wild. He set a record for the longest shutout streak to start a career at 102:48. Yeo wants to see his young goalie perform how he did last season.
“All I am hoping to see is what he came up and did last year,” the coach said. “He played very good hockey for us last year, and we have seen him do that both at this level and at the American Hockey League level, so we are anxious to get him in a game.”
The 23-year-old Hackett has been primarily backing up Backstrom during the club’s winning streak and has gotten only one start in Houston during the past three weeks. Still, the Wild aren’t concerned he might be rusty.
“Sometime practice is actually better for young goalies because they can work on really specific things, so I am not going into this game with concerns,” Yeo said. “Obviously, you have a very quick feel for how a goalie is playing in a game. We are putting him in for a reason: We have confidence in him.”
Darcy Kuemper, who is 1-2-0 with a 2.22 GAA this season in Minnesota, will back up Hackett.
HE SAID IT: “I think there is a different feeling. There is also recognition that we weren’t playing very well. The thing that is different is that even though we weren’t playing very well, we had the mindset that we had to find a way to win it and we did.” – Forward Cal Clutterbuck on Minnesota’s mindset Wednesday vs. Phoenix.