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(Sports Network) – Jimmy Howard only had to make 16 saves to post his 19th win of the season in Detroit’s 4-1 dismantling of Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center.
“We had sticks in front of the net all night,” Howard said. “We deflected shots from all sides and guys did a good job cutting off wings and not letting them have shots.”
Henrik Zetterberg scored a goal and notched an assist for the Red Wings, who have won two of their last three to remain atop of the Western Conference with 48 points.
“They really controlled the puck,” said Wild center John Madden. “It’s pretty hard to play against, especially with our effort tonight.”
Zetterberg struck first for the Red Wings at the 4:38 mark of the opening period. He chipped in a rebound off Kronwall’s shot from the slot.
Detroit built a 2-0 edge at 8:59 of the first when Cleary scored from a sharp angle on a feed from Valtteri Filppula.
Draper made it a three-goal rally in the second period when he deflected Kronwall’s shot from the left point with the shaft of his stick, sending the disc over Backstrom’s shoulder.
Holmstrom banged home a lose puck in the crease during a power play to make the lead 4-0 with 6:10 left in the second.
Minnesota struggled to produce any scoring chances and had just nine shots through 40 minutes of play, while Detroit had nine shots in the second period alone and 22 total through the first two periods.
The Wild finally got on the board during a power play with 3:40 left to play. Burns scored the goal when he backhanded a bouncing puck past Howard after teammate Martin Havlat lost the puck in tight.
The Wild are 8-8-2 this season at home…Detroit has won five of its last seven games in Minnesota…There were eight penalties in the first period — four from each team. Both clubs finished 1-for-6 on the man advantage.
(Sports Network) – The Minnesota Wild are within reach of their first four- game winning streak in nearly a year, but in order to obtain that mark they will have to knock off the Western Conference co-leading Detroit Red Wings this evening at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild haven’t won four straight since Jan. 6-13, but are currently on their third three-game winning streak of the season. They extended their run on Thursday with a 3-1 victory in Colorado.
“It was one of those games that you kind of understand the importance of it,” Cullen said. "It’s a big game. I think a lot of guys rose to the occasion. A lot of guys brought their A game, it’s such a crucial point in the season for us. It’s not easy to get on a roll. We wanted to fight to keep that momentum going.
“It was just a big win.”
The Wild will now look to get on a roll at home, where they have lost five of their last seven and are 8-7-2 this season.
Detroit has had its fair share of success in Minnesota, winning four of six while also going 8-2-1 with a tie in its last 12 played there.
Minnesota did notch a 4-3 overtime victory in Detroit on Nov. 19, getting the winner from John Madden. It was just the Wild’s third victory in their last 10 versus the Red Wings overall.
Backstrom did not start that game, sitting in favor of Jose Theodore, and is 1-3-2 with a 3.50 goals-against average in his career versus the Red Wings.
Detroit will look to grab some momentum tonight as it has lost three of its last four games, yielding four goals in each contest. It didn’t have the offense to make up that deficit last night, falling 4-3 in St. Louis.
“It’s not easy to win games if you have to score five every day,” Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg said. “It’s something you have to look after.”
Detroit was playing without Pavel Datsyuk, who suffered a broken right hand on Wednesday that is expected to sideline him for a month. Franzen replaced him on a line with Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom.
Chris Osgood gave up four goals on 25 shots and was again denied in his bid to become just the 10th player in league history to reach 400 wins.
Detroit leads the Central Division with 46 points, but is tied with Dallas for the most in the West.
Jimmy Howard should get the nod over Osgood tonight and is 3-1-1 with a 2.73 GAA lifetime versus the Wild.
David Jones scored the lone goal for the Avalanche, whose six-game win streak was snapped on Tuesday’s 5-0 loss to Los Angeles and now have dropped two straight.
The game’s scoring opened after Cal Clutterbuck went on the breakaway 9 1/2 minutes in the first. Anderson made the save, but Cullen collected the rebound and wristed it into the wide open net.
Colorado answered back 45 seconds later on Jones’ power-play goal, but Cullen tallied his second goal of game to regain the Minnesota edge, 2-1, at the 16:04 mark of the first.
Nearly three minutes into the middle frame, Brunette backhanded a rebound from the back boards to gave Minnesota a 3-1 edge and Anderson was promptly pulled after the goal in favor of Budaj.
Backstrom was strong during the final period, turning away 15 shots. Meanwhile, the conservative play of the Wild only produced only eight shots to hang onto the lead.
It was Cullen’s first two-goal game of the season…Avalanche center Greg Mauldin was injured during a hit on Marco Scandella in the third period. Mauldin was on the ice for quite some time before he left the ice with help and never returned…The Wild have taken six of the last eight against Colorado.
Cal Clutterbuck added an empty-net goal and an assist for the Wild, who have won two straight. Kyle Brodziak and John Madden also added a goal apiece in the win, while Niklas Backstrom stopped 34 shots.
Olli Jokinen scored the only goal for Calgary, which lost its fourth straight road game. Miikka Kiprusoff allowed all three goals on 22 shots in defeat.
(Sports Network) – After preventing the Flames from going perfect on a recent three-game homestand, the Minnesota Wild will now look to extend Calgary’s road losing streak to four straight games this evening as the clubs wrap a home-and-home set at Xcel Energy Center.
The Flames picked up home wins over Columbus and Toronto last week to win back-to-back games for the first time since October, but they couldn’t make it three in a row thanks to a 3-1 setback to the Wild on Saturday.
Matt Stajan had Calgary’s lone goal, while captain Jarome Iginla had a nine- game point streak (5 goals, 7 assists) come to an end. With the loss, the Flames fell one point back of their Northwest Division rival and into 14th place in the Western Conference.
“It didn’t happen offensively tonight,” Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. “Our urgency wasn’t where it needed to be. We played a team that’s in the same situation we’re in.”
Calgary, which plays its next three games on the road, has dropped nine of its last 11 as the guest.
“The guys managed the game really well,” Wild head coach Todd Richards said. “Getting the lead was big in a game like this. Everyone battled and competed very hard tonight.”
Minnesota, which has lost three in a row at home, had forward Matt Cullen back in the lineup for the first time in four games because of a groin injury.
These two clubs have now split four meetings already this season, with each team earning a home and road victory. The Wild have won eight of the last 11 meetings overall and four of the last six played at home.
These division rivals will wrap their season set in Calgary on Jan. 19.
Backstrom is 2-0-1 with a 1.30 goals-against average versus the Flames this year and 10-7-5 with a 1.95 GAA in his career.
Kiprusoff fell to 1-2-0 with a 1.69 GAA in 2010-11 versus Minnesota and 1-6-2 in his last nine against the club.
The Minnesota Wild will attempt to begin the trek out of the depths of the Western Conference and towards respectability this week and try to garner some momentum going into 2011 with three games, two at home and one on the road.
The first of the three will see the Wild return to the XCel Energy Center for a rematch against the Calgary Flames, a team that the Wild defeated on Saturday night in Calgary by a score of 3-1. Minnesota and Calgary have gone head-to-head four times already this season, with each team winning twice. The Flames are currently one of only two teams in the Western Conference that are looking up at the Wild. . .and by only one point at that, as Minnesota's 14-13-4 record is good for 32 points for them on the season, while Calgary has amassed 31 points by going 14-16-3. The puck drops in St. Paul at 7:00 PM Central time.
The Wild will then take to the road to do battle with the Colorado Avalanche, the leaders of the Northwest Division. The Wild and the Avalanche have played only one time this year, with Colorado getting a 7-4 victory in Denver on November 27. Colorado's 19-10-4 record has given them 42 points thus far on the year, which puts them third in the Western Conference behind the Detroit Red Wings (44 points) and the Dallas Stars (43 points). Things will get underway at the Pepsi Center at 8:00 PM Central time.
Finally, after Christmas is over with, the Wild will host the aforementioned Red Wings, the leaders of both the Central Division and the Western Conference with 44 points. Those 44 points come as a result of a record of 20-8-4. The Wild and Red Wings have only locked horns once to this point in the season. . .the game was in Detroit, and the Wild managed to escape the Motor City with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Red Wings. Start time for this one will be a little earlier, with the opening face-off slated for 6:00 PM Central time.
You'll be able to see all three of these games on Fox Sports North in, as the kids like to refer to it, bold and glorious high-definition.
There's a look at your Minnesota Wild schedule for this Christmas week. Enjoy the hockey, ladies and gentlemen!