Posted March 23, 2013 on
AP on Fox
San Jose Sharks
Niklas Backstrom made 33 saves for his first shutout of the season and Ryan Suter had two more assists, leading Minnesota past the San Jose Sharks 2-0 on Saturday for the Wild's season-high fifth straight victory.
Zach Parise and Jared Spurgeon scored for Minnesota. The Wild are 14-5-1 in their last 20 games, and have won by two goals or more each time in their five-game winning streak.
Bakstrom swatted aside Andrew Desjardins's penalty shot barely 3 minutes into the game. The goalie is 13-3-1 in his last 17 games, giving up two goals or fewer in 13 of those turns.
With backup Josh Harding on injured reserve while he's adjusting to medication for multiple sclerosis, the 35-year-old Backstrom has been a stalwart for the Wild in this lockout-condensed season. He has started 14 of their last 15 games. Since a win over Nashville on Feb. 9, Backstrom leads the NHL in wins.
After denying the penalty shot by Desjardins, Backstrom took a risk by coming way out to defend former teammate Brent Burns on a breakaway, arriving at the puck just in time to slap it out of reach of the defenseman-turned-wing.
Burns gave the Wild an extended man-advantage situation with a 4-minute high-sticking penalty in the first period, and the Wild only managed one shot. But then their power play cranked up.
With 7:50 left in the middle frame, just as an interference penalty on former Wild first-round draft pick James Sheppard expired, Parise grabbed a slick feed through the slot by Mikko Koivu and sent a wrist shot into the top corner of the net with goalie Antti Niemi staying down. The puck grazed the crossbar as it went in, giving the Wild the first goal for the ninth time in their last 10 games.
Dany Heatley's 2-on-1 shot on a pass by Devin Setoguchi a few seconds later bounced off the left pipe and the crossbar before skipping out.
When Dan Boyle was called for tripping as the second period ended, the Wild started the final frame with a 5-on-4. Suter made the Sharks pay by setting up Spurgeon for a slap shot that stretched the lead to two. Suter has two goals and 15 assists in his last 13 games, giving him a team-high 26 points.
Niemi made several tough stops among his 22 saves for the Sharks,
The Sharks won their first seven games, but since then they've been unable to stay in a groove. They fell to 2-5-2 in their last nine contests, with games on Monday and Wednesday against mighty Anaheim coming next.
With Heatley, Setoguchi and Torrey Mitchell, the Wild have a strong Sam Jose presence, thanks to three separate trades the two teams made two summers ago. They've also got rookie Charlie Coyle on their first line, a significant part of their return for dealing Burns on draft day in 2011.
Sheppard and Martin Havlat are the former Wild skaters now with the Sharks, and while there's still plenty of games and seasons left to change direction for now the Wild appear to have gotten the better of the Sharks in their player swaps.
NOTES: The game was played in the afternoon, with the Western Collegiate Hockey Association championship here at night between Colorado College and Wisconsin. ... The Wild are 12-4 this season when scoring first and 12-1-1 when leading after two periods. ... Parise ended a five-game streak without a goal, his longest skid of the season.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
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...
ST. PAUL, Minn. With Niklas Backstrom starting 10 straight games, the Minnesota Wild switched backup goaltenders Sunday just to get work for their promising rookies.
Minnesota assigned goaltender Matt Hackett and forward Jason Zucker to the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League and recalled goaltender Darcy Kuemper and forward Jake Dowell. Hackett, 23, and Kuemper, 22, have...
ST. PAUL, Minn. The expectation was that things would be different for the Minnesota Wild this season. A team that has missed the playoffs for four straight years was the NHL's offseason darling, courtesy of the matching 13-year contracts given to Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
Then something happened on the way to the Stanley Cup parade. Minnesota felt the weight of those hefty...
(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer The Minnesota Wild were the talk of the NHL last summer when they signed free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to identical 13-year, $98 million contracts.
Then came the lockout, putting that star power and contending potential on ice for several months.
Once the season started, the Wild and their...
Sometimes the fate of enemies can be intertwined by their own decisions. In a geo-political sense it may be connected by its use of various fuels, or strategic interests that can bring two foes to work together to solve a collective problem. This sort of describes the strange relationship between the Minnesota Wild and the San Jose Sharks. These two organizations, opponents...
Yesterday, I received my playoff invoice from the Minnesota Wild. Playoffs! Usually, in years past, I could just toss it in the garbage and refuse to be leveraged for up-front money for next season. This year, however, is different. This year may be the year that the Minnesota Wild return to the post-season dance. 29 games in, the Wild sit at 36 points, tied with Vancouver in...
Saint Paul, Minnesota – Recently, I was listening to a weekly podcast of College Hockey Tonight, and the host Scott Williams and Moose Richards were talking about the break of and reformation of the WCHA.
Shameless plug department. First, if you’re not listening to the College Hockey Tonight on KBUN, I highly recommend that you give them a listen. They both know the game...
Riding their longest winning stretch of the season, the Minnesota Wild appear poised to succeed every time they take the ice.
The San Jose Sharks hope to reach that level of confidence before it's too late.
Back from a perfect trip, the Wild look for a fifth straight victory while trying to continue their recent success over the desperate Sharks on Saturday.
Minnesota Wild (17-10-2) 36pts 1st in the Northwest
2.55 Goals For (19th)
2.41 Goals Against (5th)
18.6% Power Play (16th)
86.5% Penalty Kill (5th)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 7G 17A = 24pts
2. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 2G 22A = 24pts
3. #11 Zach Parise ~ 11G 12A = 23pts
4. #10 Devin Setoguchi ~ 11G 9A = 20pts
5. #7 Matt Cullen ~ 4G 16A ...
The Sharks were shutout in Minnesota and suffered their third road loss on this trip with a lack of scoring as Niklas Backstrom shut-out San Jose 2-0.
The story today was Backstrom between the pipes, an unsuccessful power play for the Sharks, and an opportunistic one for the Wild.
The Wild scored two goals and although only one of them will be credited with the man advantage...
The Minnesota Wild are playing their best hockey of the season, but coach Mike Yeo isn't getting too excited.
That's probably a good idea with a game in Dallas on tap.
The Wild will try to extend their winning streak to six on Monday night when they go for their first victory at the Stars in 17 tries.
Winners of 12 of 16, the Wild (18-10-2) have put themselves in a good...
This was a tough loss for the Rangers, since they outplayed the Capitals for most of the game. The Rangers out-shot the Caps, out hit them, won more faceoffs, had a better powerplay conversion and blocked more shots. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t get that coveted third regulation goal.
In the first period, there were some crucial shifts for the Rangers following goals and penalties...
NEW YORK (March 25, 2013) – Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom and Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 24. Continue reading "Stars Of The Week"