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Wild netminder Backstrom stops 22 shots in 3-0 victory over Blues

NHL.com @NHL

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Niklas Backstrom made 22 saves for his third shutout of the season as the Minnesota Wild beat the St. Louis Blues 4-0 on Wednesday night.

Andrew Brunette and Marek Zidlicky scored power-play goals to help Minnesota take the Northwest Division lead with its third victory in four games. Brunette's goal was his 200th in the NHL.

Eric Belanger added his 100th NHL goal, and Antti Miettinen was credited with an empty-net goal.

St. Louis was shut out for the third time this season. The Blues have lost three of their last four games.

Belanger opened the scoring midway through the second period. He took a pass from Pierre-Marc Bouchard, fought off Alex Steen and lifted a backhander over goalie Chris Mason's left shoulder.

Belanger has three goals and three assists in his last five games, and Bouchard has three goals and three assists in his past three games after managing only a goal and an assist in his previous 15 games.

The goal came four minutes after Backstrom slid across the crease to stop Brad Boyes after a cross-ice feed from Patrik Berglund during a 2-on-1.

Backstrom, who has won four of five against St. Louis, allowing six goals in those games, needed a performance like this.

He won 11 of his first 15 starts and had a 1.92 goals-against average, but was just 2-4-0 with a 3.57 GAA in his previous six starts. He allowed six goals in two periods Monday night against Colorado in a 6-5 loss.

Backstrom's best save was a sprawling stop against B.J. Crombeen when he reached back and up with his stick to thwart a backhand attempt that was heading for the top corner during a first-period power play.

Brunette and Zidlicky scored power-play goals early in the third period for Minnesota. The Wild have 10 power-play goals in their last three games.

Miettinen was dragged down by Carlo Colaiacovo going in alone on an empty net in the final minute, and was awarded a goal.

Minnesota had a season-high 37 shots.

Notes: Zidlicky has scored 12 goals since Nov. 25, 2006, all but one on the power play. ... St. Louis forward T.J. Oshie, who has missed 13 games with a high-ankle sprain but resumed skating last week, is on the trip. He is listed as day-to-day. ... Cal Clutterbuck returned to the Minnesota lineup. The rookie RW sat out the last two games after coach Jacques Lemaire suggested he'd slowed down a bit after being praised by his coach. ... Boyes scored both goals in a 2-1 win in Minnesota 11 days ago.

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