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Demitra and Nummelin score in shootout to give Wild a 2-1 victory over Flames

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Niklas Backstrom stopped Alex Tanguay and Byron Ritchie in the shootout, to give Minnesota its league-best eighth shootout win. Brian Rolston scored in regulation for Minnesota, which moved into a first-place tie with Calgary and Vancouver in the Northwest Division. The Canucks played Los Angeles later Friday.

Mark Giordano scored for Calgary, which has won just seven road games - third-worst in the league.

Nummelin, six-for-six in shootouts, faked going to his forehand before cutting right and putting a backhand past Miikka Kiprusoff. It was his second game-winner in a shootout.

The game was scoreless until late in the second period when Marian Gaborik, in the right circle, slid a perfect pass between the skates of Roman Hamrlik to Rolston, coming in from the left circle, for an easy tip past Kiprusoff. The power-play goal snapped a 27-chance drought for the Wild over six games, and was just its third such goal in 10 games.

Calgary answered with a nearly identical power-play goal 3:24 into the third.

Kristian Huselius extended his points streak to eight games by sending a pass across to Giordano coming in from the left circle. His tip past Backstrom came about four feet from where Rolston scored.

Backstrom stopped 23 shots in place of Manny Fernandez, who sprained his left knee in last Saturday's game and is listed as day-to-day. Fernandez faced shots for about 45 minutes before Thursday's practice and participated in some team drills.

In the first period, Backstrom made a glove save on a backhand by Byron Ritchie, before Kiprusoff robbed Rolston, who got behind Andrew Ference, and tried to deke the Calgary netminder by going to his backhand.

Kiprusoff, who played in Wednesday's All-Star Game, had 40 saves for Calgary. He stopped Wes Walz on a short-handed breakaway early in the second period, about 20 seconds before a slapshot from Rolston went off the post. Minnesota hit three pipes and one crossbar in the first two periods.

Backstrom made his biggest save of the game midway through the second, gloving a one-timer from Jeff Friesen after a cross-ice pass from Daymond Langkow.

Notes: Minnesota has played a league-high 18 overtime games. ... Calgary RW Chuck Kobasew returned after missing eight games with a concussion. ... Minnesota begins a five-game road trip Saturday in Columbus, equalling its longest trip of the season. ... The Flames are 6-3 since Jarome Iginla suffered a knee injury Jan. 4. He skated Thursday, but is not on the two-game road trip.


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