Nicklas Backstrom holds off Pens, Wild win 2-1 in shootout

Check out the Wild perspective at Hockey Wilderness

Let is be said here and now - Nicklas Backstrom is an incredible goaltender.  Whatever term you use to label the Minnesota Wilds' 'system' doesn't negate the fact that it works effectively and it works for him.

And to think - if it weren't for Michael Zigomanis' choppy face-off win in the first that took a Wild bounce past Sabourin, this would've been a 1-0 Penguins win and Sabu's first shutout of the year.

But whose making excuses?  It's not like we're Flyers fans.  Real teams come back to even the score and that's exactly what the Penguins did 10 seconds later.  The stalemate carried both teams to overtime, followed by the subsequent shootout.

On paper the game can easily appear as a boring end-to-end match.  Scoring chances were minimal but that's what made the intensity level so much higher.  Minnesota plays a very disciplined, defensive game that cancels out the Penguins' offensive onslaught.  On the other hand, Minnesota's D was pressured effectively by the Pens all night but were obviously up to the task.

Unfortunately a lot of things came to an end tonight.  Evgeni Malkin was held pointless on the night, thus bringing his 13 game streak to its untimely end.  The Penguins' six game win streak also came to an end, but their point streak is still alive.  13 points over seven games, 6-0-1 for the month of November.  I don't know about you, but I can live with that. 

And hey, even Jordan Staal dropped the mitts for only the second or third time in his career.  Dunman will no doubt have something on that later, although I'll tell you now it's not Laraque/Godard quality.

In the end there's no denying both teams earned their point, but Minnesota just barely edged out over the Pens for the extra one.  Let the Pens take this one to heart.  Who knows where the playoffs will lead them?

The good: Dany Sabourin played a phenomenal game and secured the point.  Can't help a bouncing puck from time to time.

The bad: The power play went 0-for-4, with one of those chances coming in overtime.  Can't deny some sloppy passing with the man advantage too.

The ugly: That Zigomanis faceoff.

Next game: Thursday against the Thrashers at 7:00

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