It’s hard to take any positives out of a start when you don’t even make a single save. Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom surrendered goals on the first two shots of Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings before being yanked just 3:07 minutes into the contest.
Minnesota went on to lose its third game in a row, but they went back with its top netminder on Sunday and Backstrom took the opportunity to put that start firmly behind him.
The 35-year-old goaltender turned aside 24 Columbus Blue Jackets shots on Sunday, including four by recently acquired star forward Marian Gaborik, to earn a 3-0 shutout victory.
It was Backstrom’s second shutout of the season. He also became the first goaltender of 2013 to reach the 20-win mark.
Jason Pominville also netted his first goal with the Minnesota Wild since they acquired him from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline:
With this victory, Minnesota is back on track with 46 points in 38 games. That gives them a six point cushion on the ninth place Phoenix Coyotes. They also kept the pressure on the Northwest Division leading Vancouver Canucks, who only have a two point edge on the Wild.