for this game

Backstrom, Koivu help Wild edge Blackhawks

Oct 28, 2008 - 4:17 AM By Anthony Maggio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Excuse Niklas Backstrom if he didn't notice the second-period shot discrepancy - he didn't have time to look.

Backstrom stopped all 18 shots in the second period and Mikko Koivu notched three assists as the Minnesota Wild remained the only NHL team without a loss in regulation with a 3-2 triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.

The Finnish netminder turned aside 34 shots for the Wild, who were outshot, 18-4, in the middle session.

Minnesota also killed off a 5-on-3 power-play and scored two key goals in the decisive period.

"It was a big kill for us," Backstrom said of the two-man advantage that lasted just 66 seconds. "When you kill a big penalty like that, it boosts everybody on the bench. You want to fight, you don't want to let a goal up after that because the guys on the (penalty kill) have done a great job."

Cristobal Huet allowed three goals on 18 shots and fell to 1-2-1 for the Blackhawks. The 33-year-old has allowed 11 goals in his four starts this season.

Huet was staked to an early lead thanks to Patrick Sharp, who scored his sixth goal of the season in the first period. Sharp had an easy finish at the 13:35 mark with assists from Martin Havlat and defenseman Brian Campbell, who threaded a pass through traffic right to Sharp's stick on the right side of the crease.

But the Wild responded with 2:02 remaining in the session when Antti Miettenin took a pass from Koivu, skated through the left circle until the defense collapsed, then slid the puck across the crease to Brunette for a virtually uncontested goal.

Miettenen added another goal at 4:31 of the second period on assists from Koivu and veteran Owen Nolan to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead. But less than three minutes later, the Wild found themselves shorthanded with defensemen Marek Zidlicky and Kim Johnsson sharing a bench in the penalty box.

But Minnesota's perfect penalty kill unit wouldn't give in.

"They aren't lucky," Chicago right wing Kris Versteeg said. "They haven't given up a (power play) goal for no reason. They have great sticks and great legs. We've got to make easier plays at times. We've got to go out there and make it happen sometimes - and put the puck in the back of the net when we get the chances."

Chances were plentiful, but Backstrom wouldn't back down. The Wild then capitalized on a power play at 13:17 of the second period on defenseman Brent Burns' second goal of the season for the eventual game-winner.

When the dust settled on the second frame, Minnesota was outplayed but had a two-goal lead thanks to opportunistic offense that has succeeded despite being without star forward Marian Gaborik because of injury through the first seven games.

"The goals come from Mikko's line - and it's a lot of goals," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "They move the puck so well, control it so well. They are (often) in the offensive zone. Gaborik would make a huge difference, no doubt. It would bring another line like Mikko's if he would be back there."

A second line like Koivu's isn't what Minnesota's competition wants to see, not after the Wild have earned at least one point in every game this season.

"(Koivu is) turning out to be quite a player," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He's gotten better every game, every year. (Brunette) is pretty effective in his own right. They are a dangerous line."

Defenseman Duncan Keith's slapshot from the left circle with 4:34 remaining in the third period during a 4-on-4 deflected off Backstrom and into the net to cut the Blackhawks' deficit to one.

Chicago couldn't connect on its final two shots and could not get an attempt on goal in the final 79 seconds while playing with an empty net.

Minnesota is now 22-for-22 on the penalty kill thanks in large part to Backstrom and his 1.98 goals-against average this season. The Wild have allowed a league-low 14 goals this season.

"We're working pretty much on that, paying attention to detail," Backstrom said of the penalty kill unit. "It's a big part of the game. For sure we need luck and we've been lucky so far. Hopefully luck will be on our side. You need to be sharp, and if you're working hard like we are, I think you'll get bounces also."

The Blackhawks remain winless on the road this season at 0-3-1.






  • 15
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 5 roots

    Blackhawks 2, Wild 3  FinalOct 27 11:16 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 1 0 1 2
    MINNESOTA 1 2 0 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - PATRICK SHARP 6 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, MARTIN HAVLAT) 13:35
    MIN - ANDREW BRUNETTE 3 (ANTTI MIETTINEN, MIKKO KOIVU) 17:58
    2ND PRD: MIN - ANTTI MIETTINEN 6 (MIKKO KOIVU, OWEN NOLAN) 4:31
    MIN - (PP) BRENT BURNS 2 (ANDREW

    Oct 27 10:31 PM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 2
    MINNESOTA 3
    3RD PRD: CHI - DUNCAN KEITH 2 (UNASSISTED) 15:26

    Blackhawks 2, Wild 3  3rd - 4:34Oct 27 10:23 PM
  • 10
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    bouch Added 5 roots

    Blackhawks 1, Wild 3  3rd - 5:06Oct 27 10:22 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 1 0 1
    MINNESOTA 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - PATRICK SHARP 6 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, MARTIN HAVLAT) 13:35
    MIN - ANDREW BRUNETTE 3 (ANTTI MIETTINEN, MIKKO KOIVU) 17:58
    2ND PRD: MIN - ANTTI MIETTINEN 6 (MIKKO KOIVU, OWEN NOLAN) 4:31
    MIN - (PP) BRENT BU

    Oct 27 9:36 PM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 1
    MINNESOTA 3
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) BRENT BURNS 2 (ANDREW BRUNETTE, MIKKO KOIVU) 13:17

    Blackhawks 1, Wild 3  2nd - 6:43Oct 27 9:26 PM
  • 5
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    McTool Added 5 roots

    Blackhawks 1, Wild 2  2nd - 15:29Oct 27 9:12 PM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 1
    MINNESOTA 2
    2ND PRD: MIN - ANTTI MIETTINEN 6 (MIKKO KOIVU, OWEN NOLAN) 4:31

    Blackhawks 1, Wild 2  2nd - 15:29Oct 27 9:08 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 1 1
    MINNESOTA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - PATRICK SHARP 6 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, MARTIN HAVLAT) 13:35
    MIN - ANDREW BRUNETTE 3 (ANTTI MIETTINEN, MIKKO KOIVU) 17:58
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHI 7

    Oct 27 8:44 PM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 1
    MINNESOTA 1
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 3 (ANTTI MIETTINEN, MIKKO KOIVU)
    17:58

    Blackhawks 1, Wild 1  1st - 2:02Oct 27 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 1
    MINNESOTA 0
    1ST PRD: CHI - PATRICK SHARP 6 (BRIAN CAMPBELL, MARTIN HAVLAT) 13:35

    Blackhawks 1, Wild 0  1st - 6:25Oct 27 8:33 PM