Wild get first win away from homeMinnesota Sports - The Minnesota Wild celebrated Halloween by doing something they hadn't done all season -- win a game away from home.
The Minnesota Wild celebrated Halloween by doing something they hadn't done all season -- win a game away from home.
Niklas Backstrom stopped 34 shots and made first-period goals by Kyle Brodziak and Eric Belanger stand up for a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night -- keeping the Wild from becoming the first team in 17 years from starting the season 0-9 on the road.
"Backy was great," said Eric Belanger, who scored the winning goal in the final second of the first period. "You need your goalie like that to steal you a game on the road, and that's what he did for us tonight."
Minnesota beat the defending Stanley Cup champions (11-3-0), who own the NHL's best record, despite being outshot 35-15. The Wild (5-9-0) are 3-0 against Eastern Conference opponents, including a home win over the New York Rangers on Friday night.
"We played a simple game, played a great road game in a tough building to play in against a good team," Backstrom said. "We tried to keep it simple and play our game and battle for every puck. We did it for a whole 60 minutes, and the result was good."
The Penguins did everything right -- except score.
"It's weird how hockey works sometimes," said captain Sidney Crosby, who had a six-game point streak snapped. "We played probably one solid period last night (against Columbus) and found a way to get two points, and then tonight we played three good periods and they kind of steal one from us."
All the scoring came in the opening period, when the Penguins outshot Minnesota 16-4.
The Wild had only one shot until the sequence that put them ahead. Brodziak slapped a loose puck into an open net at 12:11 after a shot by Brent Burns from the point was deflected into Marc-Andre Fleury by Chuck Kobasew.
Pascal Dupuis tied it at 14:48 with a one-timer from the slot off a feed from Martin Skoula.
Belanger, who also scored in a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers on Friday, gave the Wild the lead for good with 0.6 seconds to play in the first. Martin Havlat found him wide open in the right circle, and Belanger fired a wrist shot past Fleury, who lost for the second time this season.
Pittsburgh dominated the second period, in which Crosby got the fourth fighting major of his NHL career when he traded slashes -- and then punches -- with Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky.
Backstrom was at his best in the third period, when the Penguins kept the puck in the Minnesota zone for shifts at a time. He stopped multiple Penguins during a flurry with about nine minutes left, then robbed Kris Letang two minutes later after Letang got in alone. The Penguins pressured the rest of the way, but couldn't score again.
"I think we can keep our heads up after this one," Crosby said. "If we outshoot a team 35-15 every game I like our chances."