Wild End Hockey Day In Minnesota On High Note By Defeating Blues

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Wild Best Blues For Second Straight Night, 3-1

(Sports Network) - Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves and Cal Clutterbuck scored the first of three consecutive Minnesota goals, as the Wild topped the St. Louis Blues, 3-1, in the back end of a home-and-home set.

Antti Miettinen and Kyle Brodziak also scored for the Wild, who earned a shootout victory against the Blues on Friday and have won three in a row overall. Minnesota also improved to 9-2-0 in its last 11 games.

Jaroslav Halak started in net for St. Louis and let in three goals on 20 shots through a little more than 28 minutes. Ty Conklin made 11 saves the rest of the way, but the Blues couldn't come back and fell to 2-4-3 in their last nine contests.

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Wild Attempt to Sweep Home-And-Home Series From Blues Tonight

(Sports Network) - After halting a losing streak in St. Louis, the Minnesota Wild will aim to pick up a fourth straight home victory over the Blues as the two clubs wrap a home-and-home set this evening at Xcel Energy Center.

The Blues and Wild squared off last night at the Scottrade Center, with Minnesota rallying from four one-goal deficits in regulation in a 5-4 shootout victory. Martin Havlat forced the extra time on a goal with 58 seconds left in the third period and John Madden had the winning tally in the ninth round of the shootout.

Havlat's game-tying tally came right at the end of a 6-on-4 advantage as the Blues had been whistled for too many men on the ice and goaltender Jose Theodore was pulled to the bench.

Theodore ended with 31 saves and Cal Clutterbuck scored twice as Minnesota won for the eighth time in 10 games and is one point back of Calgary for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

"We came out of this with two points and that's what we always shoot for," said Clutterbuck.

The Wild will play five of their next six at home, where they have won three straight both overall and against the Blues. They snapped a four-game slide in St. Louis last night and have won three of the last four meetings in this series overall.

David Backes scored twice to reach the 20-goal mark for the second time in his career for the Blues, who are 2-3-3 in their last eight games. Backes has four goals in his last three contests.

Patrik Berglund and Andy McDonald also scored and Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves in his first ever start against the Wild. McDonald has four points in four games since returning from a concussion and netted his first goals since Nov. 26.

"We have to be better in all areas," said Blues head coach Davis Payne.

Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo returned from a seven-game absence after taking a puck to the eye on Jan. 18.

St. Louis has lost six of its last eight on the road and is seven points behind the Flames in the West standings.

It is unknown if Halak will go on back-to-back nights or if Ty Conklin will make his third start of the month. Conklin is 1-4-1 with a tie and 2.14 goals- against average lifetime versus the Wild.

Niklas Backstrom will likely get the call for Minnesota tonight in net and is 5-5-0 with a 2.47 GAA in his career when facing the Blues. Theodore moved to 2-5-1 with a 4.14 GAA against them.

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Wild Get Crazy Shootout Victory Over Blues, 5-4

(Sports Network) – Martin Havlat pulled Minnesota even with 58 seconds to go in regulation and John Madden scored the decisive shootout goal, as the Wild rallied to beat St. Louis, 5-4, at Scottrade Center.

The Blues were whistled for too many men at the 16:58 mark of the third period and Minnesota goaltender Jose Theodore was later called to the bench to create a 6-on-4 advantage.

Moments after the penalty expired, Andrew Brunette dished to Mikko Koivu in the right circle and he fired a shot absorbed by Jaroslav Halak. Havlat crashed the crease and nudged the puck across the goal line.

Then, in the shootout, Madden began the ninth round by whipping a backhander past Halak. Theodore turned away Vladimir Sobotka to secure the extra point for Minnesota in the front end of this home-and-home series.

Cal Clutterbuck had two goals for the Wild, who have won eight of their last 10 games.

David Backes lit the lamp twice for St. Louis, which has dropped six of eight.

Theodore stopped 31 shots, while Halak made 23 saves in defeat.

Patrik Berglund staked the Blues to a 1-0 lead 1:50 after the game’s opening faceoff, but Brunette countered 59 seconds later. Andy McDonald put St. Louis up 2-1 at 15:34 of the first period off a feed from Brad Boyes.

Clutterbuck supplied the only goal of the middle frame to draw the visitors even.

Backes scored 19 seconds into the third period, converting a Boyes pass to finish a 2-on-1 rush, but Clutterbuck provided a rebuttal 22 seconds later.

The Blues grabbed a 4-3 lead when Alex Pietrangelo’s wrister from the right point deflected off Backes and sailed past Theodore at 6:20.

Game Notes

Minnesota will host St. Louis on Saturday…The Blues had won their last four home games against the Wild…Berglund and St. Louis defenseman Erik Johnson both played in their 200th career games.

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Wild Defeat Avalanche On Brunette's Big Night, 3-2

(Sports Network) - Niklas Backstrom made 23 saves and three goal-scorers paced the Minnesota offense, as the Wild edged the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2, at Xcel Energy Center.

Antti Miettinen, John Madden and Martin Havlat scored for the Wild, who have won seven of their last nine games. Minnesota will begin a home-and-home set on consecutive nights Friday at St. Louis.

David Jones scored both goals for the struggling Avalanche, who have dropped five straight and seven of their last eight games overall. Craig Anderson started between the pipes for Colorado, but was pulled after yielding three goals on 17 shots. Peter Budaj made seven saves in relief.

A surprising sequence during the latter stages of the first period saw a combined three goals scored within a 51-second span.

Miettinen's 10th goal -- a power-play tally assisted by Matt Cullen and Brent Burns -- started the flurry at the 15-minute mark before Jones' first goal of the game 11 seconds later on the ensuing shift tied the score.

Less than a minute later, Havlat gave the Wild a 2-1 lead with his 15th goal. He held control behind the net and attempted a stuffer at the left post, which was negated. However, Havlat stayed with the play, regained control of the puck and lit the lamp with a turnaround wrister from in close at 15:51.

Midway through the middle frame, Madden's eighth marker of the campaign pushed Minnesota's advantage to two when he beat Anderson with a wrister from the right side of the slot.

Only 23 seconds into the final stanza, Jones struck again with his 18th goal of 2010-11. From behind the net, Jones kept poking at the loose puck, which Backstrom could not control in the crease. On his third whack, Jones finally connected and the puck deflected off several skates and sticks, bounced into the air, flew over Backstrom's shoulder and into the back of the cage.

Throughout most of the remainder of regulation, the Wild were the team that seemed to be playing as if they were down by a goal. The hosts controlled most of the offensive action and kept Colorado's scoring chances to a minimum.

Game Notes

Cullen had two assists and has 23 helpers this season...The Wild have now captured nine of the last 12 meetings with the Avs and improved their 2010-11 record on home ice to 13-11-2...Minnesota was 1-for-4 on the power play and held Colorado scoreless on all four of its chances with the extra skater.

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