Wild Blasted By Red Wings, 4-1

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Red Wings Whip Wild In Detroit, 4-1

(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.

Danny Cleary, Kris Draper and Tomas Holmstrom each scored in the win, while Niklas Kronwall chipped in two assists.

Brent Burns scored the lone goal for the Wild, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Niklas Backstrom gave up four goals on 27 shots in the loss.

“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.

Game Notes

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.

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Wild Resume Play At Home Against Detroit

(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.

Matt Cullen scored twice and assisted on Andrew Brunette’s tally for his first two-goal and three-point game of the season. Niklas Backstrom came away with 36 saves.

“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.

Johan Franzen, Patrick Eaves and Nicklas Lidstrom all scored for the Red Wings, who lost the opener of a four-game swing and are 8-5-1 as the guest this season.

“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.

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Cullen Leads Wild Past Avalanche In Denver, 3-1

(Sports Network) – Matt Cullen was involved in every Minnesota score, tallying two goals and an assist, as the Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1, at the Pepsi Center.

Niklas Backstrom stopped 36-of-37 shots for Minnesota, which has won three straight for the first time since November 14-19. Andrew Brunette added a goal in the win.

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.

Craig Anderson allowed three goals on just 14 shots before getting pulled in the second period. Peter Budaj ended the contest turning away all 18 shots he faced.

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.

Game Notes

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.

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Wild Get Past Flames, 4-1

(Sports Network) - Martin Havlat registered a goal and an assist, leading the Minnesota Wild to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames to sweep a home-and-home series at Xcel Energy Center.

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.

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