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Marek Zidlicky, Niklas Backstrom leads Wild past Blackhawks 4-1

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CHICAGO - Niklas Backstrom made 40 saves, and defenceman Marek Zidlicky had two power-play goals and an assist to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.

Mikko Koivu added a goal and two assists and Cal Clutterbuck had an empty-net goal as the Wild dealt the Blackhawks only their third regulation loss at home this season. Chicago is 14-2-5 at the United Center and lost 6-4 to Detroit at Wrigley Field in the NHL Winter Classic.

Owen Nolan had two assists for Minnesota, which went 2-for-3 on the power play.

Martin Havlat had the lone goal for the Blackhawks, and Nikolai Khabibulin had 22 saves. Havlat's goal came at exactly 10:00 of the second period, earning a fan US$1 million as part of a promotion with the Illinois State Lottery.

Backstrom made several in-close saves to preserve the Wild's victory. Minnesota jumped ahead 3-0 by early in the second, but Chicago dominated the second half of the game.

Koivu opened the scoring 10:15 into the game as his 40-foot shot from the slot deflected off the skate of Chicago defenceman Brent Seabrook and landed in the upper left corner of the net.

Zidlicky's first power-play goal, with 1:46 left in the first, made it 2-0. His screened shot from the top of the slot beat Khabibulin low on the stick side. Zidlicky's second score extended the Wild's lead to 3-0 at 5:53 of the second. He pinched in to the low edge of the left circle and one-timed a feed from Andrew Brunette.

Havlat's goal cut it to 3-1 as he pounced on a loose puck in the crease and whipped it past Backstrom.

The Blackhawks dominated the second half of the second period, testing the Wild netminder. His flashiest save was a point-blank stick stop on Patrick Kane, Chicago's leading scorer.

Kane has gone 11 games without a goal.

Backstrom's best saves in the third included a close-in stop of Troy Brouwer and glove save on Jonathan Toews.

Clutterbuck scored into an empty net with 34 seconds left.

Notes: Blackhawks D Duncan Keith sat out his third game with a probable concussion. Keith, who leads the Blackhawks with just under 26 minutes of ice time per game, is day-to-day. ... Minnesota LW Andrew Brunette played in his 498th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the NHL, despite an injured right knee. He suffered the injury in a collision with Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf on Saturday. ... Wild RW Craig Weller missed his second game with a head injury. ... The crowd of 21,320 was Chicago's 22nd sellout in 22 home games this season.

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