Final

Series (Game 2 of 2)

Minnesota leads 2-0

Game 1: Saturday, October 31st
Wild2Final
Penguins1
Game 2: Monday, January 11th
Penguins3Final
Wild4

Penguins 3

(28-18-1, 57 pts)

Wild 4

(23-20-3, 49 pts)

Coverage: NBCSN

8:00 PM ET, January 11, 2010

Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

1 2 3 T
PIT 1 1 13
MIN 1 2 14

G. Latendresse (Wild - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 3

N. Backstrom (Wild - G): Saves: 35, Save Pct.: .921

S. Crosby (Penguins - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

Penguins-Wild Preview

STATS LLC

The Minnesota Wild would love to record a third straight victory and topple the defending Stanley Cup champions, but they'll be hard-pressed to top their latest feat.

The Wild try to build off the momentum of the biggest comeback victory in team history Monday night when they welcome in the Pittsburgh Penguins, who look to follow their five-game slide with a third win in four games.

Minnesota (22-20-3) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over Calgary on Wednesday, but looked to be headed toward another loss as it trailed Chicago 5-1 entering the third period Saturday.

Instead of folding against the NHL points leader, the Wild rallied. Kim Johnsson's goal with 13:16 to play sparked a four-goal comeback, completed with Guillaume Latendresse's tally in the final two minutes. After a scoreless overtime and eight rounds of shootouts, Owen Nolan's goal gave Minnesota a 6-5 win that completed the biggest comeback in franchise history.

"When we scored a goal, it changed the momentum," said Latendresse, who scored twice and has nine goals since coming to Minnesota from Montreal on Nov. 23. "Our legs came back, everything came back and things went well at the end."

The last team to rally from a four-goal, third-period deficit was Philadelphia, which also trailed 5-1 in the third and won 6-5 in a shootout on Dec. 11, 2008.

"The first 40 minutes we watched them skate and watched them play," said Wild coach Todd Richards. "We had a couple opportunities. But the last 20 minutes was great. The crowd and the atmosphere was unbelievable."

The Xcel Energy Center crowd should be fired up for a visit from the Penguins (28-17-1), and they may also get an opportunity to witness some history that was delayed Saturday. Niklas Backstrom, who was pulled after two periods against the Blackhawks, can tie Manny Fernandez as the franchise's all-time wins leader at 113.

Backstrom is 2-0-0 with a 0.96 goals-against average against the Penguins, and made 34 stops in a 2-1 win at Pittsburgh on Oct. 31.

The Penguins have started to score some goals after being held to nine during a five-game losing streak from Dec. 27-Jan. 3. They've scored at least four in each of their last three games, and Sergei Gonchar had two in Saturday's 4-1 win at Toronto after missing four games with a bruised foot.

"It was a pretty big effort back there from our blue line and Gonch is a big part of that," coach Dan Bylsma said. "It's nice to have that confident guy back there, a leader back there."

Pittsburgh is 21-8-1 with Gonchar in the lineup, but it may have lost one of his defensive partners against the Maple Leafs. Brooks Orpik left with an undisclosed injury in the first period, and his status is unknown.

One of Gonchar's goals came on Pittsburgh's struggling power play, which converts 14.7 percent of the time -- 29th in the league. It runs far better with Gonchar at the point, however. The Penguins connect on 18.5 percent of their man-advantage opportunities with Gonchar in the lineup, but they're 5 for 66 (7.5 percent) without him.

Another power-play staple, Evgeni Malkin, assisted on Gonchar's man-advantage goal, but the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner doesn't have a goal in his last eight games.

Perhaps a visit to Minnesota will help shake his slump. Malkin scored twice and had an assist, while Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists in a 4-2 win in St. Paul on Oct. 30, 2007 -- both players' only career visit.

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