NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, November 1st
(All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (4-3-3) at Detroit Red Wings (5-4-0), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - It was a long road back to the NHL for Wild goaltender Josh
Harding and he's found success against an unlikely opponent.
Minnesota will turn to Harding again tonight as it wraps up a home-and-home
set with Detroit at Joe Louis Arena looking to win two straight over the club
for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
Harding missed all of last season due to two torn ligaments in his right knee.
He returned to action on Oct. 15 and made 38 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss to
the Red Wings. He got the call again on Saturday versus visiting Detroit and
stopped all 36 shots fired his way in a 1-0 victory, the fifth shutout of his
career and first win for the 27-year-old since March 21, 2010.
"I didn't really think about playing Detroit twice and getting three of four
points," said Harding of working his way back from injury. "Every time coach
calls my name I've got to be ready. I've got to go out there and battle hard."
Dany Heatley scored the game's lone goal in the first period, giving him a
pair of goals and four points over his last four games. His tally helped the
Wild avoid a fifth loss in six games and gave them a point in seven of their
10 contests this year (4-3-3).
Detroit, meanwhile, has lost four in a row following a 5-0 start.
Though No. 1 Niklas Backstrom has solid numbers this season, going 3-3-2 with
a 2.30 goals-against average, Wild head coach Mike Yeo is going to stick with
the hot hand for tonight.
"It's great what [Harding] did last game and we're going to ask him to go out
and have great performance again [Tuesday]," Yeo said, "and we'll evaluate it
game by game, but by no means does that mean that we forget about what
[Backstrom] has done for us as well."
Harding's shutout on Saturday snapped Minnesota's four-game slide to Detroit
and was just its fourth over the franchise in the past 15 meetings. The Wild
haven't won back-to-back games over the Red Wings since Dec. 12, 2002 and
March 23, 2003.
Minnesota owns just five wins and a tie in 20 trips to Joe Louis Arena, losing
five of its last six there.
Detroit will hope to continue that trend tonight and avoid losing five in a
row for the first time since Jan. 17-31, 2009. Jimmy Howard logged 19 saves in
Saturday's loss, one that saw the Red Wings outshoot the Wild, 36-20.
"We've got to keep going and stay positive," said Detroit forward Henrik
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall will play for the first time tonight since inking a
seven-year contract extension on Monday, but the lineup will also feature a
new face in 22-year-old Gustav Nyquist.
With fellow forward Fabian Brunnstrom clearing waivers and being assigned to
Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, Nyquist gets the promotion after
logging nine points in nine games in the minors.
"I liked him in training camp," Wings coach Mike Babcock told his club's
website. "I thought he was an NHL player in training camp. If you go back and
read my quotes, I think that's what I said. And I think he still is. I think
he's a guy who can help our team."
Nyquist's NHL debut will come in the opener of a six-game homestand. The Red
Wings are 3-1-0 as the host this year.
11/01 10:48:12 ET