ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota's Josh Harding has been one of the best goaltenders in the NHL this season, but he was supposed to have the night off Wednesday against Toronto as he was feeling under the weather.
That meant Niklas Backstrom got the start in net for the Wild, just the seventh game of the season for the veteran goalie. Backstrom's night lasted just 8:31, however, as he took a hit to the head from Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri.
Feeling less than 100 percent, Harding filled in and once again came up huge for the Wild, who beat the Leafs 2-1 in a shootout. Harding stopped 19 of 20 shots he faced and blanked Toronto in the shootout as Minnesota improved to 11-4-4 on the season.
"I don't think anyone can be surprised anymore with how well he's playing. He did it again," said Wild forward Zach Parise, who scored the equalizer late in the third period. "He made some big saves in the shootout again. It was great."
Backstrom took a Kadri f...