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Wild Vs. Flames: Niklas Backstrom Shuts Out Calgary

The Minnesota Wild have finally found their groove, it seems. After winning five straight games, three of which were at home, they've embarked on a five-game road trip. They got it started the right way on Tuesday, taking home a 3-0 shutout of the Calgary Flames. Niklas Backstrom got the start in goal, after Josh Harding won four straight in net, and stopped 41 shots in the shutout.

Minnesota would go on to score once in each period. Darroll Powe scored five minutes into the game, the puck deflecting off his skate on a 2-on-2 and in between the legs of Miikka Kiprusoff. Dany Heatley lit the lamp next, directing a pass from Mikko Koivu pass Kiprusoff. In the third period, Guillaume Latendresse scored on a wrister - an empty net goal - and that did it for Calgary.

Backstrom was very solid in the game, stopping eight shots in the first four minutes of play as Calgary swarmed on him. There were multiple times when Calgary set up long scoring opportunities, especially on the power play. Though Harding has played well in Backstrom's absence, expect the latter to get more playing time after that kind of showing. During that first four minutes, Backstrom lifted his stick to stop a shot while laying flat on his stomach.

Next, the Wild will head to San Jose to take on the Sharks on Thursday.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.