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Backstrom, Pominville day-to-day for Wild

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- With an extra day between Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Minnesota Wild flew back to the Twin Cities on Tuesday night following a 2-1 overtime loss.

Originally scheduled to practice Wednesday and Thursday at Xcel Energy Center before flying back to the Windy City on Thursday afternoon, Wild coach Mike Yeo gave his players the day off, although most showed up for treatment and meetings.

The first question of Yeo's press conference regarded the status of goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who sustained a lower-body injury in the final minutes of warm-ups before the game Tuesday. Yeo classified him as day-to-day, saying he would know more after the veteran met with the training staff Wednesday.

Backstrom was scheduled to get the start Tuesday but the late scratch meant Josh Harding made his first NHL start since Jan. 30. He stopped 35 of 37 shots but was the only available goaltender. With Backstrom's status uncertain, the Wild called up goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.

Should Backstrom not be available by Friday, Yeo said he felt comfortable starting Harding again despite his limited playing time this season. Kuemper has played fewer NHL minutes than Harding this season but has seen regular time with the Aeros when he's been there.

Yeo also classified wing Jason Pominville as day-to-day with lingering issues after being hit in the head by Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown in a game last week.

Pominville missed the final two games of the regular season but practiced Monday and looked primed to play Tuesday night. But Pominville didn't feel well when he woke up Tuesday and did not take part in the team's morning skate. Yeo ruled him out shortly thereafter.

The next test for Pominville will come Thursday at 11 a.m. when the team practices at Xcel Energy Center. It would be somewhat surprising if he didn't play Friday.

Defenseman Clayton Stoner and forward Matt Cullen also appeared to get dinged up during play Tuesday, Stoner on a hit in the first period and Cullen on an accidental knee-to-knee hit early in overtime. Cullen, who missed several games in April with a right knee injury, didn't miss a shift.

Stoner skated a couple of shifts in the first period and racked up a team-low 8:18 of ice time.

Yeo said he expected both to be fine for Game 2.

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