Coyotes
Wild
0 - 4 Final
  for this game

Backstrom, Zidlicky help Wild jolt Coyotes

Nov 14, 2008 - 5:28 AM By Brian Hall PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Niklas Backstrom says there is no explanation, but the Phoenix Coyotes just cannot seem to get pucks past him.

The Finnish goaltender stopped all 24 shots he faced and defenseman Marek Zidlicky scored his first two goals of the season as the Minnesota Wild recorded a 4-0 triumph over the Coyotes on Thursday.

Minnesota's struggling power play came alive, going 4-for-7 as the Wild extended their winning streak against the Coyotes to nine games. Andrew Brunette and Eric Belanger also tallied for Minnesota.

Backstrom stopped five shots in the first period, 10 in the second and nine in the third to post his second shutout of the season and 11th career.

He also improved to 8-0-0 lifetime with three shutouts and a .962 save percentage against the Coyotes.

"It's hard to explain," Backstrom said. "I don't know if there is a reason for that. For me, every game is big. I don't try to focus too much on the other team, just on my game."

Ilya Bryzgalov made 28 saves for Phoenix, which saw its three-game winning streak come to an end.

"You know what, it's disappointing because we take three or four good steps forward, but we got outclassed tonight," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "They beat us all over the ice. They beat us to loose pucks, and they were physically stronger. They outskated us, and they deserved to win. The score should have been 7- or 8-0."

The Wild dominated early against the Coyotes, who were playing for the second time in as many nights. Minnesota outshot Phoenix, 13-5, in the first period and had several good scoring chances, but Bryzgalov was up to the challenge.

However, the Wild used a pair of second-period power plays to gain control on the contest. Minnesota finally cashed in after going 1-for-21 with the man advantage over its previous five games.

"It's hard to score 5-on-5, it's hard to get chances close to the net, the goaltenders are great," Belanger said. "Your power play has to get you a lot of goals. Hopefully, we got ours going tonight. We made some great plays."

The shot in the arm might have come from a return to health.

Veteran Owen Nolan and defenseman Brent Burns returned to the lineup, and Zidlicky had his finest game after coming over in the offseason to supply offensive punch from the blue line. Zidlicky had missed five games earlier this season with an injury.

All-Star Marian Gaborik missed his 12th game with a "lower body" injury, but Burns played for the first time in five games and Nolan returned after missing eight of the past 11 contests.

"It's the first time that I feel good behind the bench having pretty much all the guys back, and still a top guy's not there," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "You know these guys will start to score and it will be good for our offense."

With a two-man advantage early in the second, Zidlicky's slap shot from the slot beat Bryzgalov just 3:28 into the session.

Brunette doubled the lead with 4:17 remaining in the period, when he received a pass from Zidlicky and fired the puck past Bryzgalov for his sixth goal of the season.

In the third, Belanger added his fourth of the campaign, scoring from a tough angle on the left side of Bryzgalov. Zidlicky again used the slap shot on another 5-on-3 with 67 seconds remaining in the session to cap the scoring.

"It's difficult for me to come to a new team," Zidlicky said. "You learn from your players and teammates. It's not easy, but every game is good for me."

Phoenix finished 0-for-6 on the power-play.

"Pretty handily, it was an NHL group against a junior team," Gretzky said. "We didn't play the way we have to play against a team like that. They're a good team, and they play as a team."

Minnesota has only allowed four power-play goals this season, posting a 92.4 percent success rate on the penalty kill - first in the league.

"I think it was probably one of the best games for us this season," Backstrom said. "The whole 60 minutes, we played good hockey. We didn't give them anything. Our (penalty kill) was really strong today. We got a lot of penalties, but we killed them.

"I think that's a sign of a good team. We lost (our) last game on Saturday, and now we bounced back."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHOENIX 0 0 0 0
    MINNESOTA 0 2 2 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) MAREK ZIDLICKY 1 (MARC-ANDRE BERGERON) 3:28
    MIN - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 6 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, ERIC BELANGER)
    15:43
    3RD PRD: MIN - (PP) ERIC BELANGER 4 (OWEN NOLAN, MARC-ANDRE BERGERON)
    3:11
    MIN -

    Nov 13 10:30 PM


  • NHL
    PHOENIX 0
    MINNESOTA 4
    3RD PRD: MIN - (PP) MAREK ZIDLICKY 2 (MARC-ANDRE BERGERON, OWEN NOLAN)
    18:53 (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Coyotes 0, Wild 4  3rd - 1:07Nov 13 10:26 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Coyotes 0, Wild 3  3rd - 12:57Nov 13 10:09 PM


  • NHL
    PHOENIX 0
    MINNESOTA 3
    3RD PRD: MIN - (PP) ERIC BELANGER 4 (OWEN NOLAN, MARC-ANDRE BERGERON)
    3:11

    Coyotes 0, Wild 3  3rd - 16:49Nov 13 9:59 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHOENIX 0 0 0
    MINNESOTA 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) MAREK ZIDLICKY 1 (MARC-ANDRE BERGERON) 3:28
    MIN - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 6 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, ERIC BELANGER)
    15:43
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHO

    Nov 13 9:34 PM


  • NHL
    PHOENIX 0
    MINNESOTA 2
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 6 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, ERIC BELANGER)
    15:43

    Coyotes 0, Wild 2  2nd - 4:17Nov 13 9:30 PM
  • 5
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 5 roots

    Coyotes 0, Wild 1  2nd - 6:30Nov 13 9:22 PM


  • NHL
    PHOENIX 0
    MINNESOTA 1
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) MAREK ZIDLICKY 1 (MARC-ANDRE BERGERON) 3:28

    Coyotes 0, Wild 1  2nd - 16:32Nov 13 9:06 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHOENIX 0 0
    MINNESOTA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHO 5 5
    MIN 13 13
    GOALIES: PHO - ILJA BRYZGALOV
    MIN - NIKLAS BACKSTROM

    Nov 13 8:42 PM