Nik Backstrom must be made out of kryptonite.
How else do you explain how he was able to keep Pittsburgh's stable of stars at bay? Oh, sure he had some help from the guys in front of him (limiting the Pens to 24 shots has to be pretty good in it's own right), in particular Kim Johnsson who seemed to be everywhere last night, but the story of the night was Backstrom, Backstrom, Backstrom.
Not only did he make every save he should have, and all-but one that he shouldn't have, but he either controlled or nullified rebounds all night as well. And then, as if he needed an "and then," he was a perfect 3:3 in the shootout, blanking Sykora, Goligoski and Crosby in the process. He is now 8-for-8 in the shootout (all wins) this season. This is the guy that had among the worst shootout statistics among all NHL goaltenders coming into this season.
The Wild, despite the final score, didn't actually score last night through 65 minutes of regulation and OT. They say it's better to be lucky than good, but They also say that Lady Luck is fickle. At the end of the day, the Wild is going to need some offense.
But this was the first time this season that the Wild faced a real test and came out on top - regardless of how they did so.
Hopefully KiPA will chime in with an eye witness report as he was at the game in person.
Chicken Little says: Backstrom is good, but we'll need more than Backstrom and a lot of luck to keep winning.
Pollyanna says: Kismet, Serendipity or just good old fashioned hard work...the Wild just knocked off the defending Eastern Conference Champs.
Bottom line: A win's a win. This would have been an easy game to have lost but taken away a "moral victory".
Stud: Backstrom is unconscious. He absolutely needs to become the #1 priority for Risebrough immediately.
Dud: Gillies was mostly invisible, and the couple times I did notice him he looked lost.