"The Wild were cruising through a feel-good victory Wednesday night when a freak accident sent Josh Harding to the hospital.
It may have looked worse than it is, but the team wasn't ready to speculate after the Wild's 3-2 exhibition victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the Xcel Energy Center.
Harding was taken to a hospital for precautionary measures after a stick blade, possibly that of teammate Martin Skoula, got through his mask and poked him in the right eye midway through the third period.
Skoula was chasing the puck, pursued by a Buffalo forechecker, when he crossed the crease. Replays appeared to show his blade getting into Harding's mask, but Skoula said he never felt it catch and wasn't sure if his stick was struck by that of his opponent.
"It was a stick battle, and I didn't even realize it," he said. "I went to the corner, and he was on the ice."
Harding fell backward and immediately shook off his gloves, then took off his helmet and covered his face. Trainer Don Fuller rushed onto the ice and examined the eye, then applied a towel and helped the goalie into the trainer's room.