Minnesota will turn to Harding again tonight as it wraps up a home-and-home set with Detroit at Joe Louis Arena looking to win two straight over the club for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
Harding missed all of last season due to two torn ligaments in his right knee. He returned to action on Oct. 15 and made 38 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Red Wings. He got the call again on Saturday versus visiting Detroit and stopped all 36 shots fired his way in a 1-0 victory, the fifth shutout of his career and first win for the 27-year-old since March 21, 2010.
"I didn't really think about playing Detroit twice and getting three of four points," said Harding of working his way back from injury. "Every time coach calls my name I've got to be ready. I've got to go out there and battle hard."
Dany Heatley scored the game's lone goal in the first period, giving him a pair of goals and four points over his last four games. His tally helped the Wild avoid a fifth loss in six games and gave them a point in seven of their 10 contests this year (4-3-3).
Detroit, meanwhile, has lost four in a row following a 5-0 start.
Though No. 1 Niklas Backstrom has solid numbers this season, going 3-3-2 with a 2.30 goals-against average, Wild head coach Mike Yeo is going to stick with the hot hand for tonight.
"It's great what [Harding] did last game and we're going to ask him to go out and have great performance again [Tuesday]," Yeo said, "and we'll evaluate it game by game, but by no means does that mean that we forget about what [Backstrom] has done for us as well."
Harding's shutout on Saturday snapped Minnesota's four-game slide to Detroit and was just its fourth over the franchise in the past 15 meetings. The Wild haven't won back-to-back games over the Red Wings since Dec. 12, 2002 and March 23, 2003.
Minnesota owns just five wins and a tie in 20 trips to Joe Louis Arena, losing five of its last six there.
Detroit will hope to continue that trend tonight and avoid losing five in a row for the first time since Jan. 17-31, 2009. Jimmy Howard logged 19 saves in Saturday's loss, one that saw the Red Wings outshoot the Wild, 36-20.
"We've got to keep going and stay positive," said Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg.
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall will play for the first time tonight since inking a seven-year contract extension on Monday, but the lineup will also feature a new face in 22-year-old Gustav Nyquist.
With fellow forward Fabian Brunnstrom clearing waivers and being assigned to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, Nyquist gets the promotion after logging nine points in nine games in the minors.
"I liked him in training camp," Wings coach Mike Babcock told his club's website. "I thought he was an NHL player in training camp. If you go back and read my quotes, I think that's what I said. And I think he still is. I think he's a guy who can help our team."
Nyquist's NHL debut will come in the opener of a six-game homestand. The Red Wings are 3-1-0 as the host this year.