Josh Harding inspires Minnesota Wild with shutout in first game after multiple sclerosis diagnosis

As the lockout prevented Josh Harding from playing in the NHL, he received news that left his hockey career in doubt. The Minnesota Wild goalie was diagnosed in October with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.

But from the moment he was diagnosed, Harding was defiant. “I know what my overall goal is to be, and that's a No. 1 goalie of the Minnesota Wild and to win a Stanley Cup here,” he told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune in November. “It would make me happy to overcome this. Not just overcome this, but to really succeed with it.”

On Sunday night, Harding made his first appearance with the Wild since his announcement; and, in turn, he made a statement: Making a Zach Parise goal in the first period stand up in a 1-0 shutout win over the Dallas Stars.

Harding made 24 saves for the shutout, including 19 in the first two periods. It was his seventh career shutout.

"It's a great story, what he's battling through and the attitude that he's had through this," Coach Mike Yeo said before the game, via the Pioneer Press. "We're real excited to give him this opportunity, and we're all pulling for him. I'm hoping that we really play a great game in front of him."

The Wild did, and Harding was up to the task. Said Harding after the game, via Michael Russo: “It's been a tough couple months here and this made it all worth it."

Start shining up that Masterton Trophy.