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Wild’s Backstrom shakes rust in surprise start, earns shootout win

Nov 23, 2013, 6:19 PM EDT

Minnesota Wild's goaltender Niklas Backstrom (32) stops the shot from Winnipeg Jets' Devin Setoguchi (40) as Wild's Ryan Suter (20) forces Setoguchi off the rebound during the second period of an NHL game in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Woods) AP

Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom wasn’t supposed to play against the Winnipeg Jets this afternoon.

He had logged all of 11 minutes worth of ice time in November due to a knee injury and then a concussion. Now that he was finally healthy enough to be taken off of the injured reserve list, the plan was just to have him warm the bench in his first game back.

Then Josh Harding suffered a freak injury when he stepped on a puck during the team’s pregame warmups.

“You have to be ready all the time,” Backstrom said, according to the Wild’s Twitter account. “You have to find a way to be there for the guys. They’re always there for you.”

He certainly stood up for them. Backstrom kicked out 37 of 39 shots to maintain a 2-2 tie going into the shootout. He outdueled goalie Al Montoya in the skills competition to earn his first win since Oct. 26.

The 35-year-old netminder got off to a rough start this season and even now his 3.03 GAA and .892 save percentage are nothing to write home about. Still, he came through for the Wild to hand them their sixth win in seven contests.

  1. mp1131211 - Nov 23, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Wild just keep winning. Got four games in a row here of the toughest teams in the league. Hopefully we have both goalies healthy and ready. Plus… Grandlund? Wth? That better not be from that Kadri hit.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Nov 23, 2013 at 10:05 PM

      I was surprised to see him play in games right after the Toronto. You could tell he was stunned. I still find it outrageous that Kadri only got 3 games for trying o take 2 players out. That hit to the head then boarding AT SPEED was a very dangerous hit. Got a match penalty, not no consequence from the NHL, almost no mention in the press.

  2. pavelfitzgerald - Nov 23, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    Pavelec was the goalie, not Montoya .. ..

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