According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, both Zenon Konopka and Clayton Stoner will not be in the Wild’s lineup for tomorrow’s Game Five matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Yeo said Konopka and Stoner are out tomorrow. Rupp and Harding on trip #mnwild
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) May 8, 2013
Stoner skated just a few shifts after a taking a big hit by Chicago forward Andrew Shaw early in Game One and hasn’t played since. It’s unknown whether Konopka’s removal from the lineup is due to an injury or if Head Coach Mike Yeo is shaking up the lines. Minnesota’s enforcer did skate part of the season on a broken foot.
In addition, gritty role playing forward Mike Rupp and goaltender Josh Harding will be making the trip. Harding left last night’s game after the first period with an undisclosed injury after being run over by Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews. Rookie Darcy Kuemper played periods two and three of Minnesota’s 3-0 home loss.
With Minnesota trailing the series 3-1, it’ll be interesting to see whether Harding, Kuemper or usual starter Niklas Backstrom will be in net in the Wild’s first must-win game of the playoffs. Backstrom, originally set to start Game One, went down with an injury in warm-ups before Minnesota’s first playoff game in five years. Harding, who has struggled with MS and its treatment this season, was forced to step in and played admirably against the best team in the NHL, stopping 108 of 117 shots for a .923 save percentage, 2.48 goals against average and a 1-3 record.