Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 12/9/11
Matt Hackett was in his baseball cap, on the Wild bench Tuesday night, as the Minnesota Wild got ready to face off against the San Jose Sharks. Seventy-one seconds into the game his team was being outshot, 8-0, and was down 1-0, while goaltender Josh Harding lay prone on the ice after being accidentally struck on the side of his head by teammate Nick Schultz.Head coach Mike Yeo instructed his young netminder to get ready and soon thereafter Hackett was sent into action. The Wild recovered nicely to take a 2-1 lead after the first period and the youngster was a rock star in the net, as he stopped all 34 Shark shots-on-goal to preserve a mildly shocking 2-1 victory.The win was extra special for Hackett because so many of his former Houston Aero teammates are now part of the roster with the Wild."It's pretty cool and pretty special to do this with a bunch of boys from last year and this year that I played with," said Hackett, 21. "They are all great friends, and to do it behind them, it's just an unbelievable feeling."Yeo was quick to point to the success that Hackett has had in Houston as the key steppingstone along the way to allow his young goalie to make the transition to the NHL. "Last year Matt was a key fixture for our team as we advanced in to the Calder Cup Finals," Yeo noted. "He has played in tight games, overtime games and game sevens, and he has always been able to rise to the occasion." Harding was still dealing with the whiplash of Tuesday night's injury and Niklas Backstrom was not yet 100 percent Thursday, so Yeo and the Wild gave Hackett his first official NHL start on Thursday night in Los Angeles against the Kings. The Wild won, 4-2. After morning skate Hackett was asked about his emotions heading into his fist NHL start. "It helps to have played in San Jose the other night that's for sure," said the youngster. "I am just going to try to settle in and play my game."True to his word, Hackett turned in another terrific performance as he didn't allow a Kings goal until the 3:59 mark of the third period. By then the Wild had already built a 3-0 lead and Hackett had started his NHL career with 102 minutes and 8 seconds of shutout hockey -- not bad for a guy who just turned 21. Defenseman Marco Scandella, who scored the game-winning goal on Thursday night, was asked about his former Aero teammate after the game. "None of us who played with Matt (Hackett) in Houston last year are surprised by his two games with the Wild," said Scandella. "He is a very talented goalie and the type of guy who plays big when the pressure is on."Hackett finished with his second consecutive NHL win, while stopping 42 of the 44 L.A. Kings shots he faced. In his two appearances with the Wild he has stopped an amazing 76 of 78 for a .974 save percentage.The Wild will now travel to Phoenix to play the Coyotes on Saturday night. FS-North will have all the action covered with Wild Live presented by Century Link starting at 6:30 p.m. CST.
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