Niklas Backstrom gets injured, opens door for Josh Harding

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Martin Brodeur wasn’t alone in leaving tonight’s New Jersey Devils-Minnesota Wild game. That shouldn’t be much solace for Brodeur since the other guy left early because of an injury. Niklas Backstrom was only able to play one period of the Wild’s 4-2 win due to a lower-body issue, according to Michael Russo.

Oddly enough, Backstrom received credit for the win because Minnesota never lost their lead. In a fairer world, Josh Harding would have gotten the victory after stopping all of the 22 shots he faced in two periods of relief work.

Harding probably isn’t too upset overall, though. He’s been just as good as Backstrom so far this season, so if the Wild’s $6 million man is out for a while, then Harding could make himself a lot of money. After some tough injury breaks of his own, Harding has a chance to turn some heads as unrestricted free agency approaches in July 2012.

Many Wild fans would argue that they’ve essentially been running with two No. 1 goalies in 2011-12. If Backstrom’s injury falls somewhere in the Kari Lehtonen range, then we’ll see if those big words are justified.