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Harding sick, Wild forced to start Backstrom

Jan 2, 2014, 4:02 PM EDT

hardinggetty Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild lost their sixth straight game on Tuesday, but at least goaltender Josh Harding stopped 21 of 23 shots against the St. Louis Blues. Unfortunately, he’s sick and consequently won’t be available for tonight’s contest against the Buffalo Sabres.

This will be the fifth time in seven contests that Harding is on the sidelines. He recently missed four games while he adjusted his treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Niklas Backstrom surrendered 17 goals in four contests during Harding’s last absence. He’ll be back between the pipes tonight.

“Here’s another opportunity for Back, and hopefully he takes advantage of it,” Wild coach Mike Yeo told the StarTribune. “Last year, when we needed to win that last game against Colorado, he came up with a great performance. I actually feel pretty good that he’s going to come out and do the same thing tonight.”

This is a game that Minnesota should win and maybe has to for the sake of Yeo. There’s been ongoing speculation about his job security given the Wild’s recent struggles and their overall disappointing showing so far this season.

He recently addressed the issue by telling his players that he doesn’t want them feeling sorry for him.

The Wild also placed 33-year-old forward Zenon Konopka on waivers today.

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