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Article posted: 5/1/2013 9:25 PM

Harding expects to start Friday for Minnesota

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Minnesota goalie Josh Harding expects to start Game 2 on Friday against the Blackhawks unlike Tuesday when he was pressed into service with short notice after Niklas Backstrom, the Wild's No. 1 goaltender, got injured in the warmup.

Darcy Kuemper was recalled from Houston of the AHL on Wednesday. The only news on Backstrom Wednesday from Wild coach Mike Yeo was lower-body injury, day to day.

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"I just kind of took it as I'm playing until somebody comes and tells me I'm not," Harding said.

Harding has gotten an outpouring of support due to his multiple sclerosis. Michael J. Fox tweeted about him Tuesday night and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Wednesday what Harding did in Game 1 was nothing short of amazing.

Harding made 35 saves in Minnesota's 2-1 loss in overtime.

"I have a lot of respect for a guy like that," Toews said. "I read his quotes about not wanting any sympathy, he's going to keep working, keep playing. You have to respect an opponent like that, especially when he's going through something like that.

"Seeing the way he played, the stops he made were pretty cool. We know he's stepping into that spotlight an assuming that responsibility, which isn't an easy thing to do."

Playing through adversity and injuries is commonplace for hockey players, but playing with a disease like MS makes even the Hawks stand up and take notice.

"It seems commonplace in today's game, especially hockey, to play through injuries and different situations," Patrick Sharp said. "You have to tip your hat to what Josh is going through on their side.

"It's pretty amazing that he's able to play at the level he does, it's an inspiration for a lot of people."

Harding said he didn't see Backstrom get hurt.

"I went out there and tried to give the team a chance to win, but unfortunately it didn't turn out that way," Harding said. "You can look at the positives and negatives to it. The positives are you don't have time to get nervous, but the negative is you don't prepare the same way as if you were starting."

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