LW Matt Cullen scored the deciding shootout goal as the Minnesota Wild won its second game in as many nights at Xcel Energy Center, 3-2, over the Chicago Blackhawks. G Niklas Backstrom stopped all 28 shots he faced in regulation, before turning aside 2-of-3 shots in the shootout, after Cullen and RW Cal Clutterbuck scored for the Wild in regulation. It was Chicago’s first defeat of the season (6-0-1).
The Wild’s 4-1-0 start on home ice is its best through its first five games in Saint Paul since the 2009-10 season.
Minnesota played in its first shootout of the season, earning its first shootout win since RW Devin Setoguchi netted the winner in a 2-1 shootout victory vs. Chicago last season. With shootout goals tonight, LW Zach Parise moved to 30-of-63 in career attempts, while LW Matt Cullen moved to 20-of-48 with eight deciding shootout goals. It was the Wild’s second extra-session game this season after falling in a 5-4 overtime loss at St. Louis Sunday.
The Wild skated in its second of nine sets of back-to-back games this season, having swept all four games. It was the Wild’s second and final set of home games on consecutive nights.
Before netting the shootout winner, LW Matt Cullen scored his first goal of the year to open the game’s scoring – his first goal in 19 games, since Feb. 26 vs. San Jose. He now has two points (1-1=2) this season and the Wild are 16-8-1 when he scores.
RW Cal Clutterbuck netted his first goal of the season to tie the game in the second period. The Wild is now 38-15-4 all-time when Clutterbuck scores.
D Tom Gilbert notched an assist on Clutterbuck’s goal to extended his point streak to four games (2-4=6). It’s his longest streak since his career-high, five-game point streak (1-9=10, April 3-11, 2010).
G Niklas Backstrom played 58:15 in relief, stopping all 28 shots he faced in regulation and 2-of-3 in the shootout. It was Backstrom’s third relief appearance over the last three seasons, last filling in Nov. 12, 2011 at Los Angeles.
C Mikael Granlund assisted on Cullen’s goal and now has three points (1-1=2) in his first seven NHL games.
RW Devin Setoguchi tallied his first point of the year with the primary assist on Cullen’s opening goal.
G Josh Harding was replaced in net after allowing two goals on four shots in the game’s opening 6:45. Harding was previously 3-0-0 on home ice against the Blackhawks, posting a .984 SV% and a 0.40 GAA – stopping 62-of-63 shots with a shutout.
Minnesota ends its two-day homestand and ventures to the West Coast for the first time this season. The Wild will visit Anaheim Friday at 9 p.m. CT and Phoenix Monday at 8 p.m. CT. Both contests are broadcast on FOX Sports North and KFAN 100.3 FM. The Wild return home and practice next Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Thomas Ice Arena.
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