Yesterday's Newsmakers in the NHL: Niklas Backstrom Pulled in Loss to Avalanche

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The Minnesota Wild are probably the last team you would expect to be involved in a 6-5 game, but, hark, here we are. Paul Stastny scored a pair of goals and picked up an assist for the Avalanche, as they snapped the Wild's modest two-game winning streak on Monday night.

Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom had what was, perhaps, his worst night of the season, giving up six goals on 26 shots through the first two periods. He didn't come back out for the third, as Josh Harding took over and stopped all five shots he faced in the defeat.

For the Avalanche, Peter Budaj gave up five goals of his own on 17 shots, as Minnesota picked up goals from Pierre-Marc Bouchard (2), Owen Nolan, Mikko Koivu, and Brent Burns.

Bouchard scored his second goal of the game just 22 seconds into the second period, giving Minnesota a brief 3-2 lead. Just three minutes later, Stastny picked up his first, as the Avalanche would fill the net three more times in the period, ultimately chasing Backstrom from the game.

Minnesota head coach Jacques Lemaire called the first 40 minutes the worst two periods he had seen, as Colorado was not only leading 6-4, but also holding a commanding 26-12 edge in shots on goal.

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Pekka Rinne Gets First Career Shutout for Nashville

Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne entered play on Monday with an .866 save percentage in his five starts on the season. So, it was somewhat surprising that the 26-year old picked up his first career shutout, stopping all 30 shots he faced in the Predators 2-0 win in Buffalo.

Neither team was able to find the back of the net through the first two periods, as Jason Arnott finally broke through at the 8-minute mark of the third period, tipping a shot past Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller. Just two minutes later, J.P. Dumont banged home a Shea Weber rebound, giving the Predators, and Rinne, all the insurance they would need. Miller stopped 25 shots in the loss for Buffalo.

For the Sabres, it was their fourth game in six nights, a stretch that saw them go 2-2, losing their past two.

Thomas Vanek, who entered the game with a league-best 18 goals, including three in his past two games, was held to just one shot on goal for Buffalo.

Red Wings Shut Down Anaheim

It appears as if the Red Wings found the solution to their early season goaltending problems: don't let the other team get a shot on goal. Detroit held the Ducks to just 16 shots on goal Monday night, and no more than six in any individual period, as the the Wings pulled out a 2-1 win, snapping Anaheim's four-game winning streak.

Chris Osgood made 15 saves in the win, while the Wings picked up goals from Marian Hossa and Johan Franzen.

Chris Kunitz scored Anaheim's only goal of the game just 1:50 in, and from that point on it was all Detroit as the Wings fired 47 shots at goalies Jean-Sebastian Giguere and Jonas Hiller. Giguere received the start in net, and left after making 37 saves in two periods because he was "cramping up."

Hiller made eight saves, but will take the loss due to giving up the game-winning goal to Hossa just 1:48 into the third period.

For the Wings, the win comes on the heels of head coach Mike Babcock, basically, calling out his team for no longer being the hardest-working club in the league.

Odds and Ends

... Vancouver goalie Curtis Sanford had to leave his start against Columbus due to back spasms on Monday, allowing 22-year old Cory Schneider to make his second NHL appearance. It didn't go all that well, as he gave up three goals on just 18 shots, as the Canucks fell to the Blue Jackets, 3-2. Kristian Huselius scored the game-winner with under five minutes to play, finishing an impressive feed from Rick Nash.

... After a lousy start to the season, Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala has been sensational in his past three starts, as he turned aside 32-of-33 shots in the Leafs 3-1 win over Los Angeles on Monday.

... Finally, because I need something to fill up space, here's a random youtube video compilation of a fresh-faced Wayne Gretzky playing his first game in Pittsburgh, which eventually results in a full-scale riot. If this would have happened today, in the age of ESPN, they probably would have shut the league down for good. Enjoy.

Yesterday's Newsmakers in the NHL: Niklas Backstrom Pulled in Loss to Avalanche originally appeared on NHL FanHouse on Tue, 02 Dec 2008 01:30:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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