The Minnesota Wild are in big trouble (trailing 3-1) in their opening round series against the Chicago Blackhawks, thanks to some of the worst injury luck with goaltenders in recent history. While the Wild faced an uphill battles to begin with as the eighth seed taking on the mighty Blackhawks, it would have been hard to see a situation like this arising. Starting goalie Niklas Backstrom was injured during warmups before game one and backup Josh Harding suffered a leg injury during Tuesday’s game four, which left the Wild leaning on rookie Darcy Kuemper between the pipes. While the result wasn’t the best, Kuemper is still getting the opportunity of a lifetime and possibly securing a spot backing up Backstrom next season.
Kumeper saw action in six regular season games for the Wild this season, posting a 1-2-0 record and a 2.08 goals-against average. He spent most of the season in the AHL with the Houston Aeros, where he won 13 games, while recording four shutouts and impressing with a 1.84 goals-against average. Had he qualified for the minimum games played standard, he would have led the AHL in several categories. In the past two months, Kuemper has now reached some pretty big milestones. In March, he made his NHL debut with the Wild. Earlier this month he made his AHL playoff debut with the Aeros, and on Tuesday he made his NHL playoff debut and was able stop 16 of the 18 Blackhawks shots he faced. All in all, that’s not a bad run for a goalie in just his second season of professional hockey. The circumstances aren’t the best, but hopefully Kuemper has had at least a few minutes to soak in the excitement of the situation he is in.