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Backstrom to start for Wild, who need their goalies to be ‘better’

Colin Wilson, Niklas Backstrom

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson, right, celebrates after a shot by Mattias Ekholm got past Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, left, of Finland, for the game-winning goal during overtime of an NHL hockey game in St. Paul, Minn., Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. The Predators won 6-5. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)


Niklas Backstrom will be between the pipes for the Minnesota Wild when they host the Flyers tonight. And, boy, could the home team use a good performance from its goaltender.

As we noted yesterday, the Wild’s other goalie, Darcy Kuemper, has been pulled in four of his last five starts at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota, a strong team by most measures, has been losing too many games as a result of middling play from its netminders.

“They have to be better. They know that,” defenseman Ryan Suter said, per the Star Tribune. “But we have to help them better. Early in games, we have to be better to limit the chances to get them into games. They want to be better. I know they do. They’re working hard.”

Here’s where Kuemper and Backstrom rank league-wide:


Obviously, not good.

On top of that, Backstrom has yet to have a solid outing in December. His save percentage this month is just .883.

The Flyers, meanwhile, are feeling it offensively, with 11 goals in their last two games, both victories.