RW Tomas Kopecky scored twice, D Ben Eager posted a goal and two assists to set a career-high with three points, and G Antti Niemi made 21 saves for his seventh shutout of the season, as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-0 in front of 18,933 – the fifth-largest crowd this season and the 10th-biggest regular season crowd ever at Xcel Energy Center. G Niklas Backstrom made 31 shots for Minnesota, which hosts San Jose on Friday.
G Antti Niemi made 21 saves for his seventh shutout this season – one off Phoenix’ Ilya Bryzgalov for the league lead.
The Wild is 25-11-3 at home – tied for the second-most home wins in a single season. Minnesota went 29-7-5 in 2006-07. The Wild has two home games left this season – Friday against San Jose and Saturday, April 10 versus Dallas.
The Wild was shut out at home for the first time in more than a full season – since a 2-0 defeat to Nashville G Dan Ellis on Feb. 6, 2009. Minnesota hadn’t lost 4-0 at home since Nov. 23, 2007, when Columbus’ Pascal Leclaire made 32 saves.
Minnesota went 0-for-3 on the power play, snapping a string of five straight games with a PPG. The Wild had 91 seconds of a 5-on-3 in the second period.
Minnesota is 16-4-5 in regular season home games in March and April in the last two-plus seasons.
The Wild is 11-3-0 in the last 14 home meetings with Chicago.
Minnesota has been outshot 220-140 in its last seven home games.
Minnesota faced a team that has played the night before for the 15th time this season. The Wild fell to 11-4-0 and had a five-game winning streak snapped in that situation.
Wild D Cam Barker and Blackhawks D Kim Johnsson, traded for each other Feb. 12, both missed the game with injuries.