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No Harding, Parise for Wild vs. Jets

Josh Harding

Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding defends the net in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Josh Harding traveled with the Wild for Friday’s game in Winnipeg and took the morning skate, but won’t dress for tonight’s affair at the MTS Centre.

Harding, recently put on IR to undergo a change in treatment protocol for Multiple Sclerosis, has missed Minnesota’s last three games -- allowing Niklas Backstrom to temporarily regain his No. 1 gig.

The veteran Finn hasn’t looked good, however, going 0-3-0 while surrendering 12 goals on 102 shots -- an .882 save percentage. He also let in this weak effort from Rangers forward Chris Kreider in a 4-1 loss on Dec. 22:

The Wild need to get Harding back, and soon. GM Chuck Fletcher said that Harding would rejoin the team in Winnipeg -- though he failed to say if Harding would return to
play -- and it’s clear the Wild are a different team in net with Harding than they are with Backstrom.

Yeo on how long Harding will need before return: I don’t know. He looked really good today.I need to have longer conversation w/ him #mnwild

— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) December 27, 2013

Harding, who has been nothing short of brilliant this season, ranks first in the NHL in goals-against average (1.51), tied for first in shutouts (3), second in save percentage (.939) and is tied for second in wins (18). He was named the league’s third star in November and is a major reason why the Wild are tied on points with Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.In other Wild news, leading goalscorer Zach Parise continues to deal with his injured foot and will also sit out tonight’s game. Head coach Mike Yeo said the club’s alternate captain is listed as day-to-day.

Yeo on Parise: “If he’s not a game player, I want to keep him off the ice completely and give him a good chance to heal.” #mnwild

— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) December 27, 2013

Meanwhile, defenseman Clayton Stoner didn’t make the trip to Winnipeg and will reportedly miss “a few games.”