Panthers
Wild
2 - 4 Final
  for this game

Backstrom helps Wild hand Panthers third straight loss

Feb 9, 2007 - 6:28 AM
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- The Minnesota Wild got back to their winning ways at home, but it took a strong performance by Niklas Backstrom to do so.

Backstrom made a season-high 41 saves and Todd White and defenseman Brent Burns each had a goal and an assist in leading the Wild to a 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers.

The Wild, who entered just 1-2-2 in their previous five home games, improved to 19-5-3 at the Xcel Energy Center this season. Conversely, the Panthers fell to 6-15-8 on the road and are last in the NHL in wins away from home.

"Our next few games here are against good teams again, and we'll have to play much better than we did tonight," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.

Minnesota has won five straight meetings with Florida.

"It's disappointing. I thought we had a good effort," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "I thought the guys that played, played hard. I thought that there were some calls that hurt us."

Playing his first season in the NHL, the 28-year-old Backstrom appeared on his way to his third shutout of the season, stopping 12 shots in the first period and 14 in the second as Minnesota held a 2-0 lead.

"It's great to play here," Backstrom said. "The crowd is behind you and they give you so much confidence to play. We don't think too much when we can just go out there and enjoy it."

Backstrom had the shutout bid halted by yielding goals less than 2 1/2 minutes apart by Martin Gelinas and Nathan Horton midway through the third, but the Finn did make 15 saves in the session to preserve the win.

"You can't think too much, you have to play the whole 60 minutes and try to play the same way," Backstrom said of the quick tallies. "You have to be playing no matter what is up on the scoreboard. You have to focus on your own game. It's the only way you can be ready the whole time."

Backstrom is 5-0-2 with seven goals allowed at home this season.

After Mark Parrish and White scored second-period goals to give the Wild their 2-0 advantage, Pavol Demitra increased the lead at 6:35 of the second period. With the tally, Demitra extended his points streak to five games.

Parrish's goal ended an 11-game drought, while White's was his first in 19 contests.

Following Florida's burst in the third, Burns scored an insurance goal on the power play with 6:13 remaining. After skating down the right wing, the former forward blasted a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle that beat goaltender Ed Belfour to the glove side for a 4-2 lead.

"Burns made a nice shot there," Lemaire said. "That was a relief for me, probably for him, too. He's been doing that in practice, and all the guys have been telling him to do it in the game. Well, he did it tonight."

Branko Radivojevic collected three assists for Minnesota, which has won four of its last five games.

"We've got a lot of confidence going," Parrish said. "Even when we're not playing our best hockey, we're calm in the locker room and on the bench, and we know we're going to give ourselves a chance as long as we don't completely shoot ourselves in the foot early on."

Stephen Weiss set up both goals and Belfour stopped 31 shots for the Panthers, who have dropped three in a row and four of five.

Florida finished with a 43-35 advantage in shots but scored less than three goals for the third time in five games.

"It's been a problem for us," Panthers captain Olli Jokinen said. "We'll find a way to get shots, but somehow we don't find a way to score enough.

"I don't know how many times we've had 40-plus shots in a game and only two goals. You can't always give the credit to the other team's goalie, but (Backstrom) was solid. He was good with the second chances as well."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0 2 2
    MINNESOTA 0 2 2 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARK PARRISH 15 (MARTIN SKOULA, BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC)
    2:09
    MIN - TODD WHITE 9 (DEREK BOOGAARD, BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC)
    14:19
    3RD PRD: MIN - (PP) PAVOL DEMITRA 14 (BRENT BURNS, PETTERI NUMMELIN)
    6:35
    F

    Feb 8 10:29 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 2
    MINNESOTA 4
    3RD PRD: MIN - (PP) BRENT BURNS 2 (TODD WHITE, BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC)
    13:47

    Panthers vs. WildFeb 8 10:21 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 2
    MINNESOTA 3
    3RD PRD: FLA - NATHAN HORTON 17 (STEPHEN WEISS) 11:28

    Panthers vs. WildFeb 8 10:15 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 1
    MINNESOTA 3
    3RD PRD: FLA - MARTIN GELINAS 9 (NATHAN HORTON, STEPHEN WEISS) 9:05

    Panthers vs. WildFeb 8 10:10 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    MINNESOTA 3
    3RD PRD: MIN - (PP) PAVOL DEMITRA 14 (BRENT BURNS, PETTERI NUMMELIN)
    6:35

    Panthers vs. WildFeb 8 10:04 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    FLORIDA 0 0 0
    MINNESOTA 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARK PARRISH 15 (MARTIN SKOULA, BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC)
    2:09
    MIN - TODD WHITE 9 (DEREK BOOGAARD, BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC)
    14:19
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----

    Feb 8 9:34 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    MINNESOTA 2
    2ND PRD: MIN - TODD WHITE 9 (DEREK BOOGAARD, BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC) 14:19

    Panthers vs. WildFeb 8 9:24 PM


  • NHL
    FLORIDA 0
    MINNESOTA 1
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARK PARRISH 15 (MARTIN SKOULA, BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC)
    2:09

    Panthers vs. WildFeb 8 9:02 PM


  • ------------------------
    Florida
    0 --0
    Minnesota 0 --0
    ------------------------

    Shots on goal:
    -----------------------------
    Florida 12 --12
    Minnesota 11 --11
    -----------------------------

    Goalies : Florida, Ed Belfour (11 shots, 11 saves). Minnesota, Niklas
    Backstrom (12 shots, 12 saves). Referees: Dennis Larue, Kelly
    Sutherland. Linesmen: Darren Gibbs,

    Feb 8 8:41 PM