ST. PAUL, Minn. Niklas Backstrom said he felt the NHL lockout gave him a "really long summer."
Good thing Backstrom got the rest when he did, because he's not resting much at all these days for the Minnesota Wild.
Backstrom, Minnesota's veteran goaltender, has been the last line in one of the NHL's best defenses and is thankful for every opportunity he gets in net for the streaking Wild, which includes starts in 14 of the past 15 games.
"For a hockey player it's fun to play," Backstrom said after posting his first shutout of the season Saturday in a 2-0 win against the San Jose Sharks. "You don't have to practice. You don't have to think. You go out there and play every night. The more you play, the easier it is. I don't want to say it's really easy, but you feel more comfortable the more you play."
With Backstrom in net each game, Minnesota has won five straight games and is 14-5-1 in its past 20 game to take the lead in the Northwest Division. Backstrom, showing shades of the...