Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding (37) cools down with a splash of water during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Harding will return tonight against the Islanders


The Minnesota Wild have struggled while Josh Harding needed to spend some time on the sidelines as he adjusted to his new treatment protocol for multiple sclerosis.

The team suffered four straight losses and netminder Niklas Backstrom conceded 17 goals over that span. The Wild need to turn things around and fortunately they have Harding back to help them do just that.

He’ll start in tonight’s match against the New York Islanders, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Michael Russo.

The 29-year-old has spent most of his career serving as a backup, but he’s come out of nowhere to arguably be the league’s top goaltender this season. Among qualified players, he leads the pack with a 1.51 GAA and .939 save percentage in 27 contests.

He won the Masterton Trophy last season for his determination to continue his career after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. With a strong second half to the 2013-14 campaign, he could follow that up with the Vezina Trophy.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?