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Wild's Harding leaves game after one period

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding left Game 4 of his team's Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks with a lower-body injury.

With 4:23 remaining in the first period, Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews attacked the Wild net with the puck. After going forehand to backhand, Toews lost control of the puck; Harding sprawled to make the stop and Toews landed awkwardly on the goaltender's left leg.

Harding remained down for several seconds before getting to his feet. Play continued for more than a minute until the next whistle and Harding could get looked at by a trainer.

Minnesota killed off a penalty and Harding finished the period, stopping five of six shots before being replaced by backup Darcy Kuemper, a rookie with no previous Stanley Cup Playoff experience.

Harding's injury is the second to strike a Wild goaltender this series. Starter Niklas Backstrom, suffered a lower-body injury during warmups prior to Game 1 and has not played since. However, after Harding's injury he dressed and served as Kuemper's backup.

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