Harding Hurt, Wild Blanked by Blackhawks
St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding was hurt midway through the first period, forcing rookie Darcy Kuemper to make his postseason debut in what would end up a 3-0 win for the Chicago Blackhawks to give that team a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven first-round playoff series. Jonathan Toews ran into Harding during a rush in the first period, with Harding taking several minutes to compose himself and finishing out the frame. He didn't return from the locker room, though, and Kuemper played the remaining 40 minutes. Harding had taken over for Niklas Backstrom, who was injured in the warmups before game one of this series after playing a vast majority of the minutes in goal for Minnesota during the regular season. Patrick Sharp scored the first two goals for the Blackhawks, one against Harding and one against Kuemper, with Bryan Bickell tallying in the third period to account for the 3-0 final score. Kuemper finished with 18 saves in his two periods of play, while Harding stopped six shots in his 20 minutes of action. Chicago now owns a 3-1 series lead, with the matchup set to shift back to the Blackhawks' home ice on Thursday night. That game is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. at the United Center.