Harding To Start Game 2

Tonight, the Wild looks to even the series against the Chicago Blackhawks, after a golden opportunity to swipe the opening game on the road of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Chicago outlasted the Wild in overtime, 2-1, on Tuesday at the United Center.

Josh Harding will get the second playoff start of his career. Harding, of course, was the story of Game 1, making 35 saves in a surprise start after Niklas Backstrom was injured during warm-ups.

Clayton Stoner will be out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury. He only skated a shade over eight minutes in Game 1. Taking his spot will be Justin Falk, who will be paired with Tom Gilbert. It will be the blueliners first-career Stanley Cup Playoff game.

Gilbert spoke with WildTV about the importance for Minnesota’s defenseman keeping good gap control against the talented Hawks offense and playing physical with his D-partner Falk.

The Wild stuck to its game plan, limiting Chicago’s quality scoring chances in Game 1, but would like to create more offensive opportunities. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo has talked about the need to play more physical, especially in the offensive end.

“If we can get engaged in a game like that, I think it helps us,” Yeo said. “We want to make sure we’re (playing physical) in the structure in our game.”

Torrey Mitchell talked to WildTV about establishing the team’s forecheck. He said that it is important to chip pucks behind the Hawks defensemen, and punish them by finishing checks.

Mikko Koivu also spoke to the media about preparing for tonight’s game against the Blackhawks. Along with competing against the Blackhawks, Koivu is vying for the EA Sports 2014 NHL cover. Stuff the ballot box and Vote Mikko.

The Wild again will be without Jason Pominville for tonight’s game. He missed Game 1 with an upper-body injury and didn’t travel with the team.

Tonight’s game will start a 8:30 p.m. State of Hockey Time. It’s broadcast locally on FOX Sports North and nationally on NBC Sports Network.

Wild Fans in Wisconsin can view the game on the following channels:
·         DirecTV: 668 (FOX Sports North)
·         Dish: 436 (FOX Sports North)
·         Time Warner: Channels 310 SD and 1310 HD (FOX Sports Wisconsin Alternate Channel)
·         Charter Communications: Channel 323 (FOX Sports Wisconsin Alternate Channel)
·         Charter Communications-Western Wisconsin: Channel 91 (FOX Sports North)

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