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Wild end Blackhawks’ winning streak via shootout

Jan 30, 2013, 11:17 PM EDT

niklasbackstromhuggetty Getty Images

Niklas Backstrom‘s perfect night in relief of Josh Harding powered the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 shootout win against the Blackhawks on Wednesday, handing Chicago its first loss of the 2013 season.

Backstrom, 34, stopped all 28 of the shots he saw following Wild coach Mike Yeo’s decision to give Harding, 28, the quick hook early in the game after he allowed two questionable goals.

The Finnish netminder improved his record to 3-1-1 on the season. Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago while Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Cullen found the net for Minnesota.

This win places the Wild atop the Northwest Division, although both the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers are active tonight and trail Minnesota by one standings point.

The Blackhawks must be disappointed to see their historic run end, yet gaining a charity point places them on top of the NHL with 13 standings points. They’re also an impressive 4-0-1 on the road so far, which is heartening because Chicago began a six-game road trip tonight.

  1. mp1131211 - Jan 30, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Parise looked sharp tonight. This team is gelling.

  2. sectualvanilla - Jan 31, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    That shootout was great. Loved lolKanes attempt. Bet he doesn’t like it as much when he’s the one choking.

  3. woodstakes - Jan 31, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Although I like my Wild team much more this year than the last couple, I have had quite a few complaints/disappointments with them thus far. My biggest complaint was the lack of scoring from anyone other than the first line. I began to wonder just how long Seto, Brodziak & Cullen in particular were going to go without contributing… especially considering there are 2 youngsters down in the NHL (Zucker/Coyle) who are just chopping at the bit to be up in the NHL. Suter, I have been disappointed in, but understandably so considering the vastly different defensive system he ran in Nashville for the last 7 years and the obvious loss of pairing with arguably the best defensemen in the business right now. However, I guess I did expect a little more from him and maybe that’s not fair.

    Having said that, this game showed that all the hustle by the 2nd/3rd lines I have seen over the first few games is maybe beginning to pay off and perhaps they are going to gel soon. My issue with them so far has been all 3 of them were forced into playing 1st line minutes MUCH of last season and found ways to put up points and now they are playing where they should be playing and not producing. NOT expecting them to be at 9 or 10 points, but 9 or 10 points between the 3 of them should not be over the top. I would hope they are feeling some pressure from the fact that Zucker and Coyle are ready to come up and they could find themselves as healthy scratches soon if they don’t start producing.

    I’m not sure what to think of this team. So far this season in the Western Conference it appears the top 3 teams are arguably in what ever order; Chicago, St Louis and San Jose. The Wild have played 2 of those (1 at home and 1 away) and tied them both, losing to St Louis in overtime and beating Chicago tonight in a shootout. I guess what makes me hopeful is the fact in both games while being out played at times other times they looked very good. All in all they looked like they belonged there. Last few years if they were in games against these types of teams it meant either Backs or Harding were standing on their heads to keep them in it. Scoring flukie goals and perhaps teams playing down to them, I don’t know. But right now it looks like we belong, at the very least, to be in the conversation to challenge for the division and make the playoffs. Which is not something we could say the last few years.

    All in all, i’m pretty happy. Especially if the secondary lines can build off of tonights game!

    Oh, one last thing…. Brodin is the REAL DEAL!! Love this kid! 19 years old, pairing with Suter and does not look out of place AT ALL!!

    • krishavy3 - Jan 31, 2013 at 4:00 AM

      You’re right, and people better start paying attention… Jonas Brodin is a stellar defenseman. Poised, smart, and great skating skills. Honestly, it looks like this kid has been playing in the NHL for years. 19?! Freaking love it.

    • illogic87 - Jan 31, 2013 at 8:25 AM

      TLDR

      • lordfletcher - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:08 AM

        I am exchanging my Granlund sweater for a Brodin this weekend if they have them in stock!!!!! Random question on Brodin, I thought he wore #12, why did he switch to #25????

        Big win for the club last night and their schedule in Feb looks very winnable…. Hats off to the Hawks, fast skilled team. Highly dangerous

      • spiciercheez - Jan 31, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        I get your comment but cmon, Granlund will be just fine. Give the kid a little time to learn and he will contribute.

      • lordfletcher - Jan 31, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        spiciercheez

        I am sitting on a few jersey’s from the 50% off day. I can easily exchange and would rather own a Brodin at this time and in no way am worried about Granlund…. but again, would rather own a Brodin :)

  4. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 31, 2013 at 1:28 AM

    Tonight was definitely Suter’s best game of the season. He did come out and say it usually takes 10-15 games to truly learn a new system. Tonight was game 7 and he’s looking better each game.

    About time some other line stepped up tonight

  5. phillyphanatic77 - Jan 31, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    This was a very entertaining game. Toews shootout goal through the five hole was awesome. I’ve been surprised how good the Wild have been. And of course Chicago has been tearing it up. Gotta love the Wednesday night matchups on NBCSN.

  6. pone27 - Jan 31, 2013 at 7:08 AM

    Hawks fan here who will gladly take the point from that game.

    Real exciting matchup indeed. Again, Crawford just doesn’t make me feel safe with the Hawks, he is just so unstable in the net. The Wild look like a very solid up and coming team, but their forward depth really leads me to believe that they wouldn’t be able to stand tall with the Hawks, Blues or Sharks. But they certainly will be contenders.

    On a side note, and I know most of us here are sick of it being brought up, but I rrally felt bad for Harding giving up those quick soft goals. You just saw he knew he was getting yanked, and his emotions during the whole thing clearly showed his fruatrations with his whole situation. Really hope he keeps his game up and stays in the pros.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      Yah, it was a bummer for Harding. There was a point where you could tell he saw Backstrom getting ready because he was looking over at the bench for what seemed like the longest time.

    • cardsandbluesforever - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      i believe harding messed his knee or hip up during the previous game against the Blues. he made a very akward save early in the 3rd period and was in obvious pain through the 3rd period until Backstrom could get warmed up enough to relieve him with about 5 minutes left.

    • jag2kk - Jan 31, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      I’m so sick of hearing everyone question the wild’s “forward depth”. Although I can understand speculation do to the sub par production from our 2nd and 3rd line thus far, you can’t deny the potential is there.

      1. Granlund
      2. Cullen
      3. Pierre Marc Bouchard
      4. Setoguchi
      5. Brodziak
      6. Clutterbuck

      I’d say that’s some pretty solid depth, give it one month and you’ll probably be saying the same thing.

  7. thecheeman - Jan 31, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    I saw the second half of this game and Parise was tremendous. I wish him ill and will cherish every Wild loss for him leaving Jersey but i can’t deny I miss having him

    • lordfletcher - Jan 31, 2013 at 9:00 AM

      I understand the feeling and it’s very odd being a Minnesota sports fan on the other end of the deal for once. How many big name players has this town / state lost to bigger markets…. again, I feel bad and completely understand what you’re going thru but I am happier than a kid at Christmas the Wild have him.

      • jag2kk - Jan 31, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        he’s back home where he belongs. :)

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