NHL Game Summary - Minnesota at Pittsburgh
(Tuesday, November 18th)
Final Score: Minnesota 2, Pittsburgh 1 (SO)
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Marek Zidlicky netted the game-winning shootout tally and Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves while halting each of Pittsburgh's three shootout attempts as the Minnesota Wild topped the Penguins, 2-1, at Mellon Arena.
After the overtime session ended with the score knotted 1-1, Petr Sykora's backhand was gloved down by Backstrom to start the shootout. Zidlicky followed by faking backhand, then drifted to his right before sliding a forehand shot around Dany Sabourin. The goaltenders stopped the next two tries, leaving Sidney Crosby with a chance to extend the affair, but his forehand attempt sailed square into Backstrom's left pad to seal the win for Minnesota.
"You look a couple months back -- this team (Pittsburgh) was the last one (team) in the east, playing against Detroit," Backstrom said, referring to the Penguins unsuccessful trip to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. "You always want to compare yourself to the best teams. You try to get up there, so your team gets confidence when you beat them. You learn how to win in those types of games."
Mikko Koivu was credited with Minnesota's regulation goal after the puck beat Sabourin off a faceoff to help the Wild to their third straight win and fourth in their last five contests.
The Wild are now 6-3-0 as the visiting team this year and kick off a five-game homestand Thursday against Vancouver.
Matt Cooke scored the lone goal for the Penguins, who had their six-game winning streak snapped and lost for the first time this month. Evgeni Malkin also had his 13-game point streak halted. Malkin has registered a point in 16 of 18 games this season and was last held without a point on October 14 against Philadelphia.
Sabourin got the start between the pipes and also made 24 saves as Marc-Andre Fleury was sidelined with an unspecified injury for Pittsburgh, which finished up a three-game homestand Tuesday and is now 6-3-1 at the Igloo this year.
"We knew our opponent well. We were playing against a team that doesn't take chances," Pens head coach Michel Therrien said. "They played really well defensively. We were capable of playing that style of (defensive) hockey. We didn't give up many scoring chances I thought it was a solid defensive performance."
Koivu was credited with the game's first goal 7:57 into the opening period when Michael Zigomanis won a defensive zone draw but in doing so sent the puck back between his goaltender's legs.
The Pens wouldn't trail for long, though, as Cooke got the equalizer just 10 seconds later by camping himself in front of the net.
Jordan Staal collected a loose puck in the slot and fired a backhander on net that got caught up amongst several players in front including Cooke, who swatted the puck into the net.
Backstrom made a key pad stop in the final minute to keep the game tied when Staal banked a pass off the right boards to Malkin for a breakaway chance.
Both goaltenders turned aside all comers in a chippy second period. Backstrom made several stops on the Pens' lone power play of the frame en route to nine saves and Sabourin halted all eight shots he saw.
In the third, each team got a chance on the man-advantage in the first portion of the frame but the game remained 1-1 with shots on goal at a premium.
Minnesota then gave the Pens a power play with 7:11 remaining but Backstrom held firm in net and each team finished with six shots in the period.
In overtime, the Wild were again whistled for a minor, giving Pittsburgh a power play for the final 1:28 of the frame but the Pens couldn't convert on their chance, leaving the game to be decided by a shootout.
Minnesota is 6-1 with a tie in its eight all-time meetings with the Penguins and Pittsburgh ended a five-game losing streak against the Wild with a victory last October 30 in St. Paul...The Pens hit the road and face Atlanta Thursday...Pittsburgh failed to convert on its four power-play chances while Minnesota was 0-for-2 on the man-advantage.
11/18 23:27:48 ET