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Backstrom slams door on Bruins; Wild goaltender makes 48 saves

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- No lead feels safe for the offensively challenged Minnesota Wild these days.

But for one game, at least, Niklas Backstrom made his team's advantage look commanding.

Backstrom made a career-high 48 saves for his fourth shutout of the season to lead the Wild to a 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

Matt Cullen and newly recalled Chad Rau each scored second-period goals for Minnesota, which won for only the second time this month, and Backstrom did the rest to frustrate the Bruins.

Boston outworked Minnesota early on offense and held the Wild to only three shots in the final period. But Backstrom stopped 22 shots in the third period, earning the 26th shutout of his career.

Minnesota's previous victory came Feb. 2 at Colorado. Minnesota went winless in its next seven games, scoring only nine goals during that span.

"Winning, that's fun, that's why you play, and we haven't had a lot of wins in the last couple of months, so sure it's been tough," Backstrom said. "Hopefully this is a good start for something new. We'll try to enjoy this. We learned the last couple of months, you can't take anything for granted."

Tim Thomas made 27 saves for the Bruins, who have lost six of 10 and were shut out for the fourth time in nine games.

"Like we've told the guys, we can either be bitter or better, and let's work on getting better here," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "And that's what we're going to try to do here in the next few days."

The Bruins have lost consecutive road games for the first time this season. The defending Stanley Cup champions are 1-10-1 in 12 games against the Wild.

Thomas said the team can't afford to get ahead of itself in trying to get back to winning consistently.

"I think you approach it the same way you do a winning streak, just take it one game at a time," Thomas said. "When we were rattling off on that roll in November and December, we weren't thinking about that big picture. That's more for people that aren't playing the game that have the leisure to think of stuff like that."

The Bruins return to First Niagara Center on Friday to play the Buffalo Sabres.

Backstrom's save total was the highest by a Wild goalie in a shutout. Not bad considering he was 0-3-2 in his past five starts.

"It's almost a little unfair on those guys. It's the one position where you're solely judged on your wins and losses, as opposed to the rest of the guys," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.

Earlier in the day, Rau was called up from Minnesota's AHL affiliate in Houston to fill in for the suspended Warren Peters.

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