C Mikko Koivu
scored two goals and G Niklas Backstrom
made 22 saves and came within two goals in the final 22 seconds of a shutout, as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 in front of 18,173 at Xcel Energy Center to cap off Hockey Day Minnesota. C Eric Belanger and LW Robbie Earl also scored for Minnesota, which has points in its last six home games (5-0-1) to tie a season-high. The Wild, now four points back of eighth-place Calgary, finishes a three-game homestand Wednesday against Detroit at 7 p.m.
C Mikko Koivu
netted his seventh career two-goal game and has a team-leading 16 goals – four off his career-high – and 47 points (16-31=47). Koivu also has a Wild-best 12 multi-point games. The Wild is 9-3-0 when Koivu notches two or more points this season, and Minnesota is 19-4-1 when he scores a goal dating back to Dec. 19, 2008.
G Niklas Backstrom
made 22 saves and allowed two goals – both in the game’s final 22 seconds. Backstrom entered the game winless in his last three starts (0-2-1) and had allowed three goals or more in eight of his last 10 starts. But Backstrom improved to 15-2-4 with a 1.99 GAA and a .929 SV% in starts after being pulled all-time. He is 11-0-1 with a 1.72 GAA and a .939 SV% in his last 12 starts after being pulled.
C Eric Belanger scored his 13th goal of the season – four off his career-high. The Wild has six players with between 13 and 16 goals.
LW Robbie Earl scored his fifth goal of the season – his second in as many games. The Wild is 10-3-2 with Earl in the lineup, including a 9-0-1 mark in the last 10 games.
D Marek Zidlicky tied a season high with a plus-three.
Minnesota has earned at least one point in six straight games at Xcel Energy Center (5-0-1), tying its longest such stretch of the season (5-0-1, Nov. 20-Dec. 15). The Wild is 17-6-2 at home this season and 23-6-6 in its last 35 games at Xcel Energy Center dating back to Feb. 19, 2009.
The Wild led 1-0 after one period – just the second time it has led after 20 minutes in the last 14 games. Minnesota improved to 12-2-1 when leading after one. The Wild scored first for the third time in 11 January games, and for just the ninth time in the last 33 games.
Columbus is 0-for-18 on the power play against the Wild in the last nine games dating back to a 2-for-5 performance (Nov. 23, 2007) at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild improved to 6-1-1 at home when wearing its green third jersey.
Minnesota has won its last four home games versus Columbus since a 4-0 loss on Nov. 23, 2007. The other three victories all came by one goal. The Wild is 11-1-1 in the last 13 home meetings.