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Harding's knee injury has Wild looking for No. 2 goalie

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ST. PAUL (AP) -- Goaltending was one area that the Minnesota Wild wasn't expected to have to worry about.

But the question of just who is going to serve as the backup to Niklas Backstrom overshadowed Minnesota's 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in an exhibition game on Saturday.

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Minnesota (0-3) suddenly has goaltending questions after Josh Harding tore both the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament during the first period of Friday night's exhibition loss at St. Louis. While Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher won't rule Harding out for the season, he will miss most of the season at a minimum.

Anton Khudobin will get the first chance to replace Harding. He started for Minnesota at Montreal on Sunday.

Khudobin played in two games last season for the Wild when Backstrom was out with a hip injury.

"Anton has showed us at this level he can have some success," Minnesota coach Todd Richards said. "Some guys get up to this level and they're good enough to get to this level, but are you good enough to stay there? With these young guys coming up, that's really what they have to prove."

Richards wouldn't say that Khudobin automatically becomes the Wild's No. 2 goalie as he added that he liked what he saw from 21-year-old Matt Hackett in the loss at St. Louis.

"He's a young kid and he looked like a goalie last night," Richards said. "He was composed and poised. He really kept us in the game for most of the night."

Fletcher said he fielded calls from a couple of other NHL general managers on Saturday. While losing Harding doesn't create the same kind of urgency that an injury to Backstrom might cause, Fletcher wouldn't rule out making a move to secure a backup.

"We'll just go day by day and evaluate everything," Fletcher said. "If we can get better, we'll get better."

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