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Niklas Backstrum Injury: Wild Goalie Expected To Make Early Return

Niklas Backstrum may not be out for 2-4 weeks after all, as the veteran goal tender was on the ice again Tuesday morning and hopes to be cleared to return to practice later this week.

Backstrom has been out since March 2, when he a groin suffered the injury roughly two minutes into an eventual Minnesota loss to Montreal. In his absence, the Wild have had to turn rookie Matt Hackett - the third stringer - because backup Josh Harding has also been on the shelf with a leg injury.

While a date for Bakstrom's return to game action remains unclear, it's a good sign for the Wild that his recovery is progressing as quickly as it has. Bakstrom, 34, had a 17-17-6 record on the season and is allowing 2.44 goals per game.

For more on the Minnesota Wild, check out Hockey Wilderness. You can check out more hockey news from around the league at SB Nation's NHL page.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.