Wild: Backstrom Likely To Start Thursday


Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom is expected to dress for the Wild for the first time since straining his knee in Nashville on October 8th.

Coach Mike Yeo said Backstrom is scheduled to play back up to starter Josh Harding on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lighting if he is healthy enough to play. This will be Harding’s 6th straight game for the Wild.

Darcy Kuemper will be sent back to the American Hockey League Iowa Wild.

When they play against the Lightning, he will have a slightly different blue line in front of him than he had Tuesday in Toronto. Keith Ballard is expected to miss his second straight game after getting hit in the face by a puck Monday in Buffalo.

Yeo said Ballard isn’t feeling well but that the team doesn’t believe he has a concussion,”We just want to make sure that if he’s not feeling well, we’ve got eight healthy defensemen.”

Oct 5, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom (32) bats the puck away in the third period against the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center. The Ducks defeated the Wild 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Prosser will be inactive after playing in his first game of the season Tuesday, while Mathew Dumba is scheduled to play, he sat out Tuesday’s game after struggling the night before in Buffalo.

“I would say that the Buffalo game was not as good as previous games, but at the same time he was consistent enough where he didn’t have a bad game,” Yeo said of Dumba. “And that’s what you’re looking for. You can have an off night but don’t make it a bad game.”

Tampa Bay Coach Jon Cooper gave praise to the Wild after his team’s morning skate. He saw that the Wild lost 4-1 to Toronto and figured they were playing against a top notch Maple Leafs team. Then he watched the video.

“I can’t believe the score wasn’t reversed — at worst,” Cooper said. “They’re extremely structured, they battled hard through all their lines, and I think they have some guy on defense (Ryan Suter) who plays 75 minutes in a 60-minute game. He’s just a horse back there. It’s pretty impressive to watch. Pretty impressed with their team. There’s a lot of structure, and they play really hard, so this is going to be a tough one for us tonight.”