Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo is playing his team's goaltender situation close to his vest heading into Thursday's Game 5 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Yeo wouldn't disclose Wednesday who will be his starting or backup goaltenders for Game 5. It's unknown if Yeo is being coy out of necessity due to recent injuries to goaltenders Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding or he's hoping to catch the Blackhawks off guard.
Yeo said it was the latter while laughing about it during his media availability on Wednesday.
"We like to keep the other team guessing, so we're not only going to not tell them who are starting goaltender is, we're not going to tell them who our backup goaltender is either," said Yeo, whose team trails 3-1 in the series. "Really leave them in the dark."
The Wild have had a turbulent series in net. Backstrom suffered a lower-body injury during pregame warmups in the series opener and had to be replaced by Harding.
Harding was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the offseason and played in just five regular season games. He also had played in just one playoff period prior to this season.
Harding made 108 saves over the series' first three games and held the Blackhawks to two goals in a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 1 and a 3-2 overtime win in Game 3.
Harding started Game 4, but suffered an undisclosed injury during the first period and was replaced by Darcy Kuemper to begin the second period. Kuemper was recalled from the AHL recently due to Backstrom's injury.
Kuemper played in six games during the regular season this year and had not played in the playoffs previously.
Kuemper allowed two goals and made 16 saves in Tuesday's 3-0 loss to the Blackhawks in Game 4. Backstrom, who had been scratched before the game, suited up and sat on the bench during the third period. He would have been allowed to play if Kuemper had to leave the game due to an injury.
Yeo said Harding would travel with the team to Chicago.