The Minnesota Wild had few shots and very little good scoring chances.
That didn’t matter.
The only thing that does is the one shot that got into the net as the Wild defeated the Colorado Avalanche 1-0 Thursday at the Pepsi Center.
Niklas Backstrom was the story of the game.
“He said right there,” Mike Yeo said about telling Backstrom that one of his goaltenders had to step up and be the man. “He was very much in control. When you have a goalie playing like that it brings a confidence to the group.”
He saw rubber and bodies from all directions, but he stopped all of them. He stopped 37 shots, most of which came after the Wild scored the game’s only goal just over six minutes into the game on its first shot of the game.
Greg Zanon scored the game-winning goal with a wrist shot from the point that got through traffic over Jean-Sebastian Giguere’s glove. His shot came seconds after Kyle Brodziak won a faceoff and Dany Heatley tapped a pass back to him.
The Avalanche (26-25-2) had a great opportunity to tie the game in the final minute and a half when Justin Falk was assessed a phantom cross checking penalty. Falk knocked Cal O’Reilly down when the two were battling for the puck in front of Backstrom.
The Wild (25-19-7) did not allow a really good scoring chance on the Avalanche’s only power play of the game and actually nearly scored twice. The first opportunity came shortly after the penalty started when Darroll Powe slid a shot off the outside of the post while being taken down. The second came on a nearly full length shot by a Wild defender that went just wide.
The Wild played the second half of the game with only five defensemen after Clayton Stoner appeared to be injured during a fight with Cody McLeod.
Yeo said after the game it was a lower body injury and he did not know his status for Saturday’s game in Dallas.
No. 3 – Jean-Sebastian Giguere. The Avalanche goaltender did not see a shots coming his way, but made several very good saves.
No. 2 – Gabriel Landeskog. The Avalanche forward didn’t get on the scoresheet, but was the best player on the ice for either team.
No. 1 – Niklas Backstrom. The Wild goaltender made 37 saves for the shutout.
Minnesota 1 0 0 – 1
Colorado 0 0 0 – 0
First Period – 1, Minnesota, Zanon 2 (Heatley, Brodziak), 6:04. Penalties – Quincey, Col (interference), 7:58.
Second Period – None. Penalties – Powe, Min (interference), 4:48; Powe, Min (roughing), 4:48; Kobasew, Col, double minor, (roughing), 4:48; Stoner, Min, major (fighting), 7:04; McLeod, Col, major (fighting), 7:04; McMillan, Min, major (fighting), 11:03; Kobasew, Col, major (fighting), 11:03.
Third Period – None. Penalties – Falk, Min (cross checking), 18:40.
Shots on goal – Minnesota 3-11-7 21. Colorado 10-10-17 37.
Goalies – Minnesota, Backstrom (37-37). Colorado, Giguere (20-21). A – N/A. Referees – Ian Walsh, Dan O’Halloran. Linesmen – Mike Cvik, Brad Lazarowich.