Found February 18, 2013 on Fox Sports North:
ST. PAUL, Minn. Darcy Kuemper was just trying to prepare to back up Minnesota Wild starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom when he watched Backstrom skate off the ice near the end of warm-ups. Soon after, Kuemper, the 22-year-old with only one NHL game under his belt, heard he was starting minutes before taking the ice against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. He handled the assignment nearly as unflappably as he does traffic in front of the crease. "Everything was happening so quick there I didn't even have time to get nervous," Kuemper said after the game. "They got one quick but I just tried to not let it get to me and stick in there. Obviously we have a lot of talent in here, so one goal wasn't a big deal. I had a feeling we'd get it back and we potted three tonight. If you do that, you'll win a lot of times." Kuemper, who received the call-up from the American Hockey League last week when backup goaltender Josh Harding started feeling "off" after a change in his medication for multiple sclerosis, made 29 saves against Detroit to earn his first NHLwin, 3-2 against one of the league's most tradition-rich teams. The Red Wings, who haven't missed the playoffs in 23 years, might not hold the same dominance they did in the 90's and early 2000s, but are team filled with talent and entered Sunday in playoff position. His first two NHL games haven't been easy situations, but Kuemper has stood strong in each game. Sunday's surprise start came after making his NHL debut on the road against the Vancouver Canucks, a 2-1 loss in which Kuemper made 28 saves. Kuemper owns a 2.02 goals-against average and .934 save percentage, both numbers that lead the Wild. "We throw Kuemps into a pretty difficult situation and the way he responded was terrific," Wild coach Mike Yeo said after Sunday's game. "That was pretty impressive for me. I thought he was better as the game went on. I thought he was huge in that 4-minute (penalty kill) for us. But the way he was handling the puck too, relieving some of the pressure when they're trying to apply it, I thought he was very good." Kuemper earned the call-up by posting the second-best goals-against and save percentage in the AHL. He was 10-6-0 with a 1.79 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage with the Houston Aeros of the AHL, getting the promotion over another highly regarded goaltender, Matt Hackett, who had made his NHL debut last season for Minnesota.A game against Detroit seems a long way from the AHL. But Kuemper knew what he was facing Sunday, such as Detroit's talented forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. "They had two goals on me," Kuemper said. "They're great players. They're guys I grew up watching on TV. So to be able to play against them and get a win, what a feeling." And when it was over, Kuemper couldn't resist an emphatic fist-pump in celebration."I'm usually pretty even-keel, just one fist pump with the glove there, but that first one is pretty exciting," Kuemper said. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Wild Tuesday: Koivu likely to play Thursday

TUESDAY'S STORY LINE: The flu bug that has been running through the Wild locker room hit captain Mikko Koivu on Tuesday. The top line center missed practice, but Mike Yeo expects Koivu to travel with the team to Edmonton on Wednesday. The bug caused Justin Falk, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and goalie Niklas Backstrom to miss Sunday's game against the Red Wings. Koivu battled Sunday...

Pregame vs. Wild - Suck It Suter

Wings enter today's game with the Wild with a two game losing streak and a bilgillion injuries to boot, including the great Datsyuk.   BUT WAIT - I'M GETTING WORD THAT ITS GOING TO BE FINE.  MIKAEL SAMUELSSON IS BACK IN THE LINEUP.   PRAISE BE TO LARRY MURPHY'S HIPSTER GLASSES! Yup, that's the good news going into the game tonight.  You can ignore the...

Zucker breathes new life into Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. Jason Zucker bounced the puck off the boards past Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filpulla and in the defensive zone, hauled in his own pass and then outraced longtime NHL veteran Mikael Samuelsson. In front of him, the Minnesota Wild's rookie forward was surprised to see nothing but open ice between him and the goaltender. Few players are catching the speedy...

Setoguchi Fined For High-Sticking Incident

NEW YORK (February 19, 2013) – Minnesota Wild forward Devin Setoguchi has been fined $8,108.11, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for high-sticking Detroit Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quince yin NHL Game No. 216 in Minnesota on Sunday, February 17, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today. The incident occurred...

LINK CITY: Pens scouting the Wild?

Cool pic from last night. How good are the Ducks right now? The Ducks are 12-2-1. Old Double B making moves.   Who are the Pens looking at? A note from Elliotte Friedman's 30 points: 25. So who was Shero watching last week in Minnesota? He attended Avalanche/Wild game the night before Pittsburgh won in Winnipeg. You know who has Penguin written all...

Red Wings can't hold off Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild have had to work a bit harder to generate any offense this season. That's what made Jason Zucker zooming past everybody for a highlight-reel goal such a welcome sight. Dany Heatley, Zucker and Torrey Mitchell all scored in the second period to rally Minnesota over the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on Sunday night. It was Minnesota's first...

Brad Ratgen: Big Game Day Preview: Red Wings at Wild. The Future is Now?

The Minnesota Wild currently sit in 11th place in the Western Conference. Most of the time, at this point on the calendar, most hope of making the post-season would be gone. But, given the shortened season, the Wild have 14 points and are only 2 points out of the 8th spot in the West, currently held by today’s opponent, the Detroit Red Wings. For a lot of fans, this season...

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Edmonton Oilers @ 8:30PM CST at Rexall Place

Minnesota Wild (7-6-2)  16pts  (2nd in the Northwest) 2.07 Goals For per Game (30th) 2.47 Goals Against per game (10th) 15.1% Power Play (22nd) 84.0% Penalty Kill (9th) Top 5 Scorers: 1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 7G 5A = 12pts 2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 3G 9A = 12pts 3. #15 Dany Heatley ~ 5G 4A = 9pts 4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 0G 8A = 8pts 5. #77 Tom Gilbert...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.