Backstrom rebounds, aces a shootout test as Wild beats Edmonton again

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 14, 2011 - 11:40 AM

After struggling in Ottawa, the Wild goalie stopped three shooters to send Edmonton home with its 17th consecutive loss at the Xcel Center.

view larger photos

  

Giving up three goals on three shots Tuesday in Ottawa didn't ruin Nicklas Backstrom's reputation as being the NHL's worst shootout goalie.

Thursday morning, Wild coach Mike Yeo was asked if he would ever consider pulling Backstrom before a shootout.

Yeo said he'd do anything to win a hockey game but that it was mostly incumbent on the Wild to help build Backstrom's confidence in the most fragile part of his arsenal.

So, predictably, Thursday night's game against the Edmonton Oilers went to a shootout.

Just prior though, Yeo walked to the end of the bench, talked privately with Backstrom and offered a "pat on the back." Only one of four Oilers shooters scored, and the Wild snagged a deserved 2-1 victory behind goals from Devin Setoguchi and Matt Cullen.

"It's nice to know you have the coach behind you," Backstrom said.

After a flat opening eight minutes, it was all Wild, all the time. The only reason the Wild's 17th consecutive home win over Edmonton didn't come by a wide margin was Nikolai Khabibulin. The "Bulin Wall" made 34 saves and continually covered up for his shoddy blue line's astronomical number of turnovers.

The Wild, which hasn't lost to Edmonton at home since Jan. 16, 2007, outshot the Oilers 15-1 in the third period.

"I thought our forwards started owning their D down in their zone," defenseman Greg Zanon said.

"We were all over them," Cal Clutterbuck said. "Nothing was materializing, but when games come to the end like that, most of the time the team that deserves to win does."

After consecutive losses on Long Island and in Ottawa, and with high-powered Detroit and Pittsburgh next on the homestand, the Wild couldn't afford to let the young Oilers out of St. Paul with a "W."

Cullen scored the Wild's lone regulation goal and Backstrom improved to 15-0 at home against the Oilers with 21 saves through 65 minutes.

But once the Wild failed to register a shot on a 4-on-3 power play in overtime, one could sense the groan in the crowd.

Backstrom's shootout failures are notorious in these parts. He was 12-25 and had lost nine of his previous 10. His league-worst save percentage was .568.

What defies logic is that, when facing a breakaway in a game, Backstrom usually stops it. Give him a breakaway in practice, he usually stops it. His lifetime goals-against average in games that go to a shootout is 1.92, meaning he's routinely spoiling well-played games.

"You want to be better, and you need to be better for the team," Backstrom said. "That's something I have to work on. That's huge points. That's going to be a big challenge for me to be better in those."

And since Backstrom is the Wild's bona fide No. 1, Yeo needs him to be better in a conference where a few points could be the difference in making the playoffs or not.

"We can't just say, 'Oh, he's no good,' because I've seen it," Yeo said. "We've seen it in practice, we've seen it on breakaways and we've seen it tonight."

What Yeo was happiest about was Backstrom's attitude after Cullen opened the shootout with his second shootout goal in as many opportunities. Backstrom gave up a goal to Jordan Eberle, yet rebounded to keep Anton Lander, Taylor Hall and Shawn Horcoff from scoring.

"It looked like he said, 'You're not beating me. You're not beating me this time,' " Yeo said. "I think it's something he can definitely build off of."

Added Cullen: "He's such a good goalie, such a good competitor -- you knew it wouldn't be long for him to bounce back."

  • related content

  • Rule cramping Clutterbuck's style

    Friday October 14, 2011

    Cal Clutterbuck has led the NHL in hits in each of his first three seasons, but he'll be hard-pressed to do it a fourth if a certain trend continues.

  • Aaron Boogaard pleads guilty to gross misdemeanor in brother's death

    Thursday October 13, 2011

    He received stayed sentence for pleading guilty to interfering with scene of brother Derek's death.

  • Recap: Wild 2, Edmonton 1 (SO)

    Friday October 14, 2011

    STAR TRIBUNE'S THREE STARS1. Nikolai Khabibulin, Oilers: In a game in which Edmonton was completely outplayed, he made 15 of...

  • Wild goalie Nicklas Backstrom made an acrobatic save in the second period against Ryan Jones. Backstrom later made three shootout saves.

  • WILD 2, EDMONTON 1 (SO) • Up next: 7 p.m. Saturday vs. Detroit at Xcel Energy Center • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - B. Colon 6:05 PM
Washington - T. Roark
Baltimore - U. Jimenez 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy
Kansas City - Y. Ventura 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:07 PM
Toronto - R. Dickey
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Price
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 6:10 PM
Miami - H. Alvarez
Pittsburgh - G. Cole 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - J. Cueto
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb 6:10 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Houston - B. Oberholtzer 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Martinez
St. Louis - S. Miller 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Arizona - A. Chafin 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Columbus
Boston 6:30 PM
Montreal
Nashville 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Toronto
Detroit 7:30 PM
Chicago
San Jose 8:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close