Originally posted on Fang Faction  |  Last updated 4/2/12

Welcome Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators fans to the fourteenth edition of 'How to Beat the Goalie' on Fang Faction. This will be the first time the Wild's goalies will be looked at on Fang Faction. The Minnesota Wild go to Smashville to take on the Nashville Predators, Tuesday Night. The Minnesota Wild's goalies, right now, are Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom.

Edition 14: Minnesota Wild Goalies, Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom

No one really knows who the starting goalie for the Minnesota Wild, on Tuesday night, will be, yet. Everyone should know after Morning Skate. Since the Minnesota Wild's season is over, and they are playing for their jobs, both goalies will be used in the final games of the season. As of not knowing, I am going to say Josh Harding will get the start so they can showcase him for the off-season. If not, I apologize. Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom will be looked at with in-depth stats and video.


Josh Harding is the projected starting goalie on Fang Faction for the Minnesota Wild, as of now. Harding doesn't have a great record against the Nashville Predators in his career, as you will see down the page. Tuesday night, he will try to change that.

In Josh Harding's last start, he played the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday night. In that game, he allowed four goals and stopped 31 of 35 shots in the win. In Harding's last five starts, he is 3-2-0.

I have reason to believe that the Minnesota Wild organization is showcasing Josh Harding before the season is over. I think he will get the start in at least two of the last three games of the season. At the end of this season, Josh Harding will become an unrestricted free agent (UFA). 

Here is how the Nashville Predators will score on Josh Harding:

  • Adjust: Harding is a right handed goalie. The majority of the NHL is left handed. 
  • Rebounds: Pucks are going to be there in the slot. Nashville will have to have bodies and traffic towards the net.

      

  • Glove Side: Watch for the Predators to score on him, glove side. 


Josh Harding's 2011-2012 stats:

Name W L OT SO SV % GAA Josh Harding 12 12 4 2 .916 2.68

Josh Harding's career stats vs Predators:

Name W L OT SO SV % GAA Josh Harding 4 5 1 0 .906 2.88

 



As of right now on Fang Faction, Niklas Backstrom will not get the start and henceforth will be sitting behing the bench. The last time Backstrom started in a game was Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings, when he allowed three goals and stopped 26 of 29 shots in the win. 

Niklas Backstrom is getting older and is not getting any better. He has recently turned 34 years old. Backstrom's contract will be up after next season. It would be the Wild's best interest not to re-sign him.

Here is how the Nashville Predators will score on Niklas Backstrom:

  • Shootout Alert!: If there was to be a shootout, look for the Predators to go forehand-backhand to score like this one here. I'm talking to you, David Legwand!

  • Quick Shots: Look for the Predators to pass from the corner, to the slot, to get a quick shot on net.

(I could put more, but the post would take a while to load.)

  • Go deep into the zone: Watch for the Nashville Predators to go deep into the Minnesota zone because Backstrom comes out of his net a lot, to cut down the angles because of his size. He is one of the smaller goalies, 5'11". If the Predators were to go deep fast, goals will happen.

Niklas Backstrom's 2011-2012 stats:

Name W L OT SO SV % GAA Niklas Backstrom 19 17 6 4 .920 2.43

Niklas Backstrom's career stats vs Predators:

Name W L OT/T SO SV % GAA Niklas Backtrom 7 4 0 0 .903 3.03
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