Wild goaltender Josh Harding makes a save on Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane during Game 1 their NHL Western Conference quarterfinal series at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., April 30, 2013. (JIM YOUNG/Reuters)
CHICAGO - You know a player is doing something special when sworn enemies in a playoff series want to reach over and pat him on the back.
With the magnitude of Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding’s heroic Game 1 performance setting overnight, the Chicago Blackhawks spent a good part of Wednesday morning saluting the man they’re ultimately trying to beat.
“You have to tip your hat to what Josh is going through on their side,” said Chicago winger Patrick Sharp. “It’s pretty amazing that he’s able to play at the level he does, it’s an inspiration for a lot of people.”
Sidelined for nearly three months while his body adjusted to medication prescribed to help him combat Multiple Sclerosis, Harding found out 15 minutes before puckdrop Tuesday that Nik Backstrom was out and he was in.
His first start since Feb.7 had heartbreak written all over it.