The Minnesota Wild are used to low scoring games.
The Colorado Avalanche are not.
It took a Devin Setoguchi goal with just over two and a half minutes remaining in the game to break a scoreless tie.
The Wild’s top line combined to score the goal off a rush, led by captain Mikko Koivu. Koivu dropped a pass to Dany Heatley for a quick shot on goal. The rebound went right to Setoguchi on the backdoor for an open net score.
“Anyone would want those,” Setoguchi said. “The puck ended up on my stick. Sometimes that is all it takes.”
Setoguchi, however, is not happy with his six goals on the season, but that puts him on pace to score in the mid-20’s; which is a solid season.
“I like to shoot the puck,” he said. “I have like four shots the last few games.”
The Wild (11-5-3) have done pretty well in one-goal games in which three goals or less were scored between the two teams. It is 6-1 in those situations.
For the Avalanche, it was just the third time this season they were in that situation and have one gone 1-2.
Niklas Backstrom did not have to make very many difficult saves, but he had to stop all of them. It was his 24th career shutout and second of the season.
When asked after the game what a shutout means to him, he just replied, “Two points.”
Nick Schultz, playing in his 700th career game, had the first great scoring chance, but had his shot deflected wide of an open net by Jan Hejda. Schultz received a pass on the weakside and deked Jean-Sebastian Giguere to his backhand giving him a wide open net. As he slid the puck toward the open net, Hejda just got his stick in the way in time.
The Wild remain on top of the Northwest Division and second in the Western Conference with 25 points.
“It’s fun being at the top, not having to look up in the standings and think we have to beat this team and that team,” Schultz said.
The Wild continue its six-game home stand Saturday against the St. Louis Blues.
No. 3 – Nick Schultz. The Wild defenseman played his 700th career game and nearly had his first goal of the season.
No. 2 – Niklas Backstrom. The Wild goaltender stopped 27 shots for the shutout.
No. 1 – Devin Setoguchi. The Wild forward scored the game-winning goal.
Colorado 0 0 0 – 0
Minnesota 0 0 1 – 1
First Period – None. Penalties – Duchene, Col (tripping), 4:14; Stoner, Min (tripping), 19:34.
Second Period – None. Penalties – None.
Third Period – 1, Minnesota, Setoguchi 6 (Heatley, Koivu), 17:29. Penalties – Stoner, Min (hooking), 3:47; Falk, Min (roughing), 10:32 (served by Bouchard); Falk, Min, major (fighting), 10:32; Jones, Col, major (fighting), 10:32.
Shots on goal – Colorado 6-13-8 27. Minnesota 8-5-5 18.
Goalies – Colorado, Giguere (17-18). Minnesota, Backstrom (27-27). A – 16,779. Referees – Mike Hasenfratz, Kelly Sunderland. Linesmen – Michel Cormier, Jean Morin.