The Minnesota Wild have made an interesting move in the wake of Josh Harding’s injury.
On Friday, the club announced it had recalled goalie Johan Gustafsson from AHL Iowa, passing over their previously preferred goalie recall of choice, Darcy Kuemper.
Gustafsson, 21, was Minnesota’s sixth-round pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He’s posted a 2-0-0 record with a 1.99 GAA and .935 save percentage with Iowa this season, his first in the AHL after starring with Lulea in the Swedish Elite League last year.
Harding was hurt during Thursday’s 3-1 win over Carolina. Minnesota’s longtime No. 1 goalie, Niklas Backstrom, came on in relief and will likely be re-inserted into his starting position when the Wild take on the ‘Hawks in Chicago this Saturday.
As for Gustafsson, it’s unclear when he’ll get to make his NHL debut, if at all. But the mere fact he’s been recalled says something about the future of Minnesota’s goaltending — Kuemper, who has played very well at the AHL level, looked shaky in a 4-1 loss to Toronto on Oct. 15, allowing three goals on seven shots.
It was already loud at Bridgestone Arena, but the Nashville Predators are making it a madhouse with a strong start against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6.
First, it was Austin Watson, who sent a puck off a Ducks skate to score a 1-0 goal on Nashville’s first shot on Jonathan Bernier, who is starting instead of John Gibson. That came about 90 seconds into the game, really revving up the crowd.
Colton Sissons scored his first goal of the Western Conference Final – on his first shot on goal of the series – to make it 2-0. At that point, Bernier had allowed two goals on three shots on goal. Bernier’s made a few stops since then, but it’s a shaky start for a Ducks team facing elimination.
There’s some solace in that Anaheim’s often at its best in dire situations, though you have to wonder how many times they can bounce back from this?
The Anaheim Ducks won’t have John Gibson back, but the Nashville Predators are dealing with some injury-related letdowns, too.
Craig Smith skated before Game 6, but he opted not to play on Monday. Mike Fisher is also unable to go for the Predators as they aim to eliminate Anaheim.
The Ducks also won’t have Rickard Rakell back in the mix, so this physical Western Conference Final continues to feel like a battle of attrition.
Click here for the official roster report.
Game 5 is airing on NBCSN right now. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE.
Apparently all of that optimism surrounding John Gibson starting in Game 6 was unfounded.
Instead, Jonathan Bernier will serve as the Anaheim Ducks’ starter as they attempt to avoid being eliminated by the Nashville Predators on Monday. Gibson’s health is clearly the issue, as he won’t even dress; instead, Jhonas Enroth serves as the backup for Bernier.
Mere hours ago, it sounded like Gibson might start after he skated. He was confident about his chances a couple days ago, as well.
On the bright side, Bernier finished the 2016-17 season on a high note – possibly saving his NHL career in the process – so his Ducks teammates should be confident in his abilities. He also was thrown into Game 5 against the Predators, so he had a chance to shake off the rust.
Still, with the Ducks’ season on the line, they must face the Predators without their No. 1 goalie. The Ryan Johansen-less Preds are unlikely to take pity on them.
Will we see a Game 7 in the Western Conference Final or will the Nashville Predators stamp their ticket to the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup Final?
We’ll find out soon enough on Monday, as the Predators host the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6.
Ryan Getzlaf and the Ducks will get their chance to beat the Ryan Johansen-less Predators once again on NBCSN. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App.
Here’s what you need to know:
Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators (Preds lead 3-2)
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Network: NBCSN (Stream live here)
Check out the highlights from Nashville’s 3-1 win in Game 5
—Ducks will be without Eaves and Rakell in Game 6
—Pontus Aberg ‘face planted’ before scoring game-winning goal in Game 6