Wild blank Sharks
St. Paul, MN – Niklas Backstrom stopped 33 shots to notch his first shutout of the season, as the Minnesota Wild blanked the San Jose Sharks, 2-0, on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.
Zach Parise and Jared Spurgeon each scored once, with Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter adding a pair of helpers apiece to help the Wild extend their season- high winning streak to five games.
"I feel good. I think the whole team feels good," Backstrom said. "It's the whole unit. It helps so much when you have everyone playing the same way."
Antti Niemi allowed both goals on 24 shots for the Sharks, who have lost three of four on a five-game road trip that wraps up Monday in Anaheim.
San Jose had a prime opportunity to score just over three minutes in when Andrew Desjardins was awarded a penalty shot after being taken down on a breakaway, but the San Jose center couldn't take advantage, as Backstrom made a nice glove save to keep the Sharks off the board.
After a scoreless first frame, Minnesota broke through just over 12 minutes into the second stanza, as Koivu slid a perfect pass from the top of the left circle to the low right side for Parise, who buried a wrister into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead at the 12:10 mark.
Minnesota padded its lead with a power-play marker early in the third when Spurgeon let a one-timer fly from the top of the left circle that sailed high into the far corner of the net to make it 2-0 at the 1:17 mark.
Backstrom made the lead stand from there, as he turned away all 19 shots he faced in the final frame to secure his 27th career shutout.
"Special teams let us down," Sharks coach Todd McLellan lamented. "It's not that we were horrendous in those areas, but they beat us on the power play."
The Wild are on their longest winning streak since taking seven in a row from Nov. 28-Dec. 10 of last year ... Minnesota has won four straight in the series ... Minnesota finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while San Jose failed on all four of its chances with the man advantage.