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Minnesota Sports Roundup: Wild, Twins both win Sunday

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Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves to record his second shutout of the season and 28th of his career, as the Wild blanked the Blue Jackets 3-0 in Columbus last night. Jason Pominville tallied a goal and an assist, while Ryan Suter and Charlie Coyle also scored for Minnesota, which snapped a three-game skid. Sergei Bobrovsky allowed all three goals on 24 shots for the Blue Jackets, who have lost two in-a-row after a three-game winning streak.

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Golden Gopher star hockey player Erik Haula signed an entry NHL contract with the Minnesota Wild yesterday. The move means Haula steps away from the Gopher program with a year of eligibility remaining. He posted 42 goals in 114 career college games. He is a native of Pori, Finland and will finish the season at AHL Houston. Meanwhile, Haula's college teammate Mark Alt of St. Paul signed a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Minnesota's Justin Morneau smacked a two-run double in the top of the third to help the Twins drop the Orioles 4-3 yesterday in Baltimore. Twins rookie Aaron Hicks singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning. Former Twin J.J. Hardy smacked a two-run homer and a Nick Markakis drove home a run to put the O's up 3-0 heading into the third frame. Anthony Swarzak earned the win in relief for Minnesota, which improved to 4-and-2. Glen Perkins picked up his second save. Jason Hammel allowed four runs in six-and-two-thirds frames for the loss, which drops Baltimore to 3-and-3.

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The Twins activated pitcher Anthony Swarzak from the 15-day disabled list on Sunday and placed pitcher Cole De Vries on the 15-day DL. De Vries is out with a right forearm strain. The team also optioned pitcher Tyler Robertson to Triple-A Rochester and recalled pitcher Pedro Hernandez from Rochester. Hernandez earned a no-decision in yesterday's win in Maryland.

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When the Twins and Royals play in Kansas City later today, it will be an historic Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium. Today marks the 40th anniversary of baseball at the Truman Sports Complex. It kicks off a season long celebration of the ballpark, which first opened as Royals Stadium in 1973. It was renamed after late owner Ewing Kauffman in 1993. __________________________________________________________________________

Minnesota's Nikola Pekovic posted 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves in a 107-101 win over the Pistons on Saturday in Minneapolis. It was the 1,000th career win for head coach Rick Adelman. The Timberwolves begin a three-game west coast road trip tomorrow night in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors.

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Cornerback Antoine Winfield is scheduled to visit the Seahawks this week according to various reports. Winfield's also considering the Redskins and a return to his former team, the Minnesota Vikings. The three-time Pro Bowler picked off three passes last season.

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