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Backstrom, Wild blank Blues

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sports Willmar,Minnesota 56201
West Central Tribune
Backstrom, Wild blank Blues
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ST. PAUL (AP) -- Niklas Backstrom made 22 saves for his third shutout of the season and the Minnesota Wild beat the St. Louis Blues 4-0 on Wednesday night.


Andrew Brunette and Marek Zidlicky scored power-play goals to help Minnesota take the Northwest Division lead. Brunette's goal was his 200th in the NHL.

Eric Belanger added his 100th NHL goal, and Antti Miettinen was credited with an empty-net goal.

St. Louis was shut out for the third time this season. The Blues have lost three of their last four games.

Belanger opened the scoring midway through the second period. He took a pass from Pierre-Marc Bouchard, fought off Alex Steen and lifted a backhander over goalie Chris Mason's left shoulder.

Belanger has three goals and three assists in his last five games, and Bouchard has three goals and three assists in his past three games after managing only a goal and an assist in his previous 15 games.

The goal came 4 minutes after Backstrom slid across the crease to stop Brad Boyes after a cross-ice feed from Patrik Berglund during a 2-on-1.

Backstrom, who has won four of five against St. Louis, allowing six goals in those games, needed a performance like this.

He won 11 of his first 15 starts and had a 1.92 goals-against average, but was just 2-4-0 with a 3.57 GAA in his previous six starts. He allowed six goals in two periods Monday night against Colorado in a 6-5 loss.

Backstrom's best save was a sprawling stop against B.J. Crombeen when he reached back and up with his stick to thwart a backhand attempt that was heading for the top corner during a first-period power play.

Brunette and Zidlicky scored power-play goals early in the third period for Minnesota. The Wild have 10 power-play goals in their last three games.

Miettinen was dragged down by Carlo Colaiacovo going in alone on an empty net in the final minute, and was awarded a goal.

Minnesota had a season-high 37 shots.