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Backstrom leads Wild past Blackhawks 5-3

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 26, 2013 at 10:53 pm •  Published: October 26, 2013
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CHICAGO (AP) — This time, Niklas Backstrom made it through warm-ups without any injuries.

It was the start of one nice night for the goalie and the Minnesota Wild.

Backstrom made 33 saves in his first win of the season and the Wild defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 on Saturday in a rematch of their first-round playoff series.

"I think I just play every game the same," Backstrom said. "You try to go out there and play your best. Be at your best for your team and your teammates when they need you. I think that's the way I'm looking at it."

But this one was quite a turnaround from the playoffs, when Backstrom was scratched from Game 1 in Chicago after he hurt his leg reaching for a puck during warm-ups. That was it for Backstrom for the series, and Chicago eliminated Minnesota in five games on the way to its second Stanley Cup title in four seasons.

"It's a new season, it's a new team," said Backstrom, dismissing any talk about the postseason meeting. "So there's no reason to sit around, we try to learn this year."

Jason Pominville had two goals in his 600th career game as Minnesota earned its third consecutive win. Zach Parise, Kyle Brodziak and Justin Fontaine also scored for the Wild, and Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund had two assists apiece.

Bryan Bickell scored for the fourth consecutive game for the Blackhawks, who had recorded at least one point in each of their past seven games. Patrick Kane added his team-best sixth goal in the third period.

"It's nice scoring, but most importantly, it's nice to score when you're winning," Bickell said. "Tonight was a rough game for the team, defensively and offensively."

Chicago committed five of the 12 penalties in the game and went 1 for 7 on the power play. It has allowed 11 goals in the past two games.

"It's two games in a row we gave up five goals and more," captain Jonathan Toews said. "It's one thing that people are talking about us not scoring as much, but sometimes you don't need to score than many to win if you're playing smart defensively."

Backstrom was terrific in his first start since he strained his right knee during a 3-2 loss at Nashville on Oct. 8. He came off the bench when Josh Harding suffered a lower-body injury Thursday night and stopped all seven shots that he faced during the third period of a 3-1 home win against Carolina.

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