NHL

Harding to start Game 5 for Wild against Chicago

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CHICAGO (AP)

Goalie Josh Harding will start Game 5 for Minnesota against the Chicago Blackhawks and Darcy Kuemper will back him up on Thursday night.

Coach Mike Yeo announced the decision after Harding went through the morning skate.

He left Game 4 on Tuesday following a collision with Chicago's Jonathan Toews late in the first period. Harding's legs got straddled around the left post when Toews landed on top of him in the crease. The Wild, who had already lost starter Niklas Backstrom to an injury warming up before Game 1, went with Kuemper to start the second period.

Blackhawks center Dave Bolland and goalie Ray Emery remain sidelined by lower body injuries, although coach Joel Quenneville said they're ''real close.''

Chicago leads 3-1 and is trying to advance in the playoffs for the first time since the Stanley Cup run in 2010. With a win over the Wild, the Blackhawks would face San Jose or Detroit in the next round if the Red Wings advance over Anaheim.

Tagged: Blackhawks, Wild, Josh Harding

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