The Minnesota Wild extended their Northwest Division lead over the Vancouver Canucks to six points on Saturday night with a 4-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. It was their seventh straight win overall and seventh straight on the road, where they are now 10-3-1. Also, the Wild become the NHL's first 20-win team and they did it in just 30 games (it took them 40 games last year).
The Wild got the scoring going early against the Coyotes, scoring just a few minutes into the game on the power play. Kyle Brodziak lunged after a rebound and slid it through the five-hole of Coyotes netminder Mike Smith, who had to be pulled on Thursday night against the Red Wings.
Minnesota added three more, two via the power play, over the next 37-plus minutes to take a comfortable 4-0 lead into the third period. From there, it was all Niklas Backstrom who stopped 16-of-17 shots in the third period to help Minnesota hang on. In all, Backstrom was exceptional, stopping 35-of-36 shots.
The NHL's point leaders are 4-0 on their current five-game road trip and cap it off on December 13 against Winnipeg, who just lost 7-1 to the Red Wings tonight.