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Minnesota at Calgary

Wild's Backstrom earns shutout in return from injury

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CALGARY, Alberta -- Niklas Backstrom made himself right at home in goal for the Minnesota Wild.

Returning from a hip injury that sidelined him for nine games, Backstrom made 37 saves for his second shutout of the season in the Wild's 6-0 victory against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

"You have to be smart," Backstrom said. "It's good to have a training staff like we have. They tell you when you're ready to go out there because as a player you don't want to miss a single day, a single practice or a game. It was a long, tough couple weeks to sit in the locker room and watch the games."

Martin Havlat had two goals and an assist, John Madden, Chuck Kobasew and Cal Clutterbuck each had a goal and an assist and Mikko Koivu also scored. Kyle Brodziak had three assists, and Andrew Brunette added two.

Coming off victories over Vancouver on Sunday night and in Edmonton on Tuesday night with Anton Khudobin in goal, the Wild have won three straight and seven of their last 10 to pull within a point of Colorado and Chicago Blackhawks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"It's a tight race," Kobasew said. "Every win helps, but at the end of the night you look at the standings and most teams are winning. You've got to do that on a consistent basis and hopefully we can continue that."

Calgary returned home after going 2-0-2 on a trip that ended with an overtime loss Monday night in Montreal.

"It was one of those games we never had our 'A' game here tonight, bottom line," Calgary coach Brent Sutter said. "They did take advantage of the opportunities they had. I didn't think we were very good defensively. We gave up several quality chances in our own zone and on the rush."

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in first 6:04.

Havlat opened the scoring at 3:25, blasting a shot over Miikka Kiprusoff's left pad, and Koivu doubled the lead on a power play, snapping a shot through traffic past the screened Kiprusoff.

"Getting that first goal and then one the power play was a huge, huge lift for us," Minnesota coach Todd Richards said. "We gave up some opportunities, but despite the shots, I think a lot of them were from out. Nik did great job. He was big, he was in control. When there were rebounds we fought hard in front of him."

Madden scored late in the second, and Clutterbuck, Kobasew and Havlat added goals in the third.

"The guys have been playing really well," Backstrom said after his 21st NHL shutout. "It's been fun to watch and it makes you hungry to come back."

Notes

  • Backstrom is 8-1-1 in his last 10 games against Calgary.
  • Calgary right winger Tom Kostopoulos served the fifth game of his six-game suspension for his high hit Jan. 7 that broke Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart's jaw.
  • Minnesota is 20-2-4 when it scores the first goal.
  • Kiprusoff made 18 saves.
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Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Nicklas Backstrom, who was sidelined since Dec. 31, makes 37 saves for his second shutout this season. (Getty Images)
Nicklas Backstrom, who was sidelined since Dec. 31, makes 37 saves for his second shutout this season. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Minnesota  (24-18-5) «2136
Calgary (20-21-6)0000
Three Stars
N. Backstrom
MIN


Saves: 37
Save Pct.: 1.000
M. Havlat
MIN


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
C. Kobasew
MIN


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:25 - Martin Havlat (12), Wrist Shot. Assist: Brodziak, Zanon
06:04Power Play - Mikko Koivu (12), Wrist Shot. Assist: Cullen, Brunette
2ND PERIOD
18:23 - John Madden (7), Snap Shot. Assist: Brunette, Kobasew
3RD PERIOD
02:48 - Cal Clutterbuck (14), Snap Shot. Assist: Havlat, Brodziak
12:04 - Chuck Kobasew (8), Slap Shot. Assist: Madden, Staubitz
17:08 - Martin Havlat (13), Tip-In. Assist: Clutterbuck, Brodziak
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:29Babchuk, 2 min, Elbowing
2ND PERIOD
01:19Glencross, 5 min, Boarding
09:40Havlat, 2 min, Tripping
13:21Bouchard, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
14:22Sarich, 2 min, Interference
Shots On Goal
 123T
MIN99624
CGY9121637
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Niklas Backstrom60:00370
Miikka Kiprusoff59:46186
Game Information
Attendance - 19289
Referees - Marc Joannette, Kyle Rehman
Linesmen - Dan Schachte, Bryan Pancich
 
Other Games
Tor 0 Final
NYR 7
Colu 3 Final
OT
Fla 2