Niklas Backstrom’s perfect night in relief of Josh Harding powered the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 shootout win against the Blackhawks on Wednesday, handing Chicago its first loss of the 2013 season.
Backstrom, 34, stopped all 28 of the shots he saw following Wild coach Mike Yeo’s decision to give Harding, 28, the quick hook early in the game after he allowed two questionable goals.
The Finnish netminder improved his record to 3-1-1 on the season. Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago while Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Cullen found the net for Minnesota.
This win places the Wild atop the Northwest Division, although both the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers are active tonight and trail Minnesota by one standings point.
The Blackhawks must be disappointed to see their historic run end, yet gaining a charity point places them on top of the NHL with 13 standings points. They’re also an impressive 4-0-1 on the road so far, which is heartening because Chicago began a six-game road trip tonight.