Theodore, Wild Stifle Crosby-Less Pens 4-0
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jose Theodore made 26 saves for his first shutout of the season and 30th of his NHL career, and the Minnesota Wild shut down the Sidney Crosby-less Penguins 4-0 on Saturday night.
Chuck Kobasew, Martin Havlat, Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Brodziak scored for the Wild, who are on a season-high, four-game winning streak. Theodore improved to 19-4-3 against Pittsburgh, including 17-1-3 in his past 21 starts.
Theodore has started each game of the Wild’s winning streak because usual starter Nicklas Backstrom is out with a groin injury. Theodore has allowed only two goals in three games.
The Wild are 9-2-1 against the Penguins and have never allowed more than two goals in a game. Minnesota has won six of seven games in Pittsburgh.
Crosby missed his second straight game — both Penguins losses — because of a concussion, and the NHL’s leading scorer isn’t expected to play Monday against Boston or Wednesday at Montreal. Pittsburgh is 21-12-8 in games Crosby has sat out and has won only one of seven games this season in which he didn’t play or didn’t record a point.
Theodore saved a shot from in close by Evgeni Malkin, 5 minutes in. He also made a nice stop on Arron Asham early in the third. But without Crosby, Pittsburgh didn’t test him much beyond that and was shut out for the second time this season.
According to STATS LLC., since New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur entered the NHL in 1991-92, he is the only goalie with more wins against the Penguins (40) than Theodore. Only Patrick Lalime (2.27) has a better goals-against average in that time against Pittsburgh than Theodore’s 2.32.
Kobasew gave the Wild a 1-0 lead with 6:37 left in the first when a shot by Mikko Koivu deflected off his body and into the net while he stood just in front of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Havlat made it 2-0 4:43 later. Brodziak won a faceoff in the Penguins end, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard took a shot. Havlat beat the Pittsburgh defense to the rebound and fired a shot between Fleury’s legs.
Pittsburgh defenseman Zbynek Michalek hit the post with a slap shot from the point 3 minutes into the third, and Asham was denied by Theodore on an open shot from the right circle 3 minutes later.
Seconds after that, Clutterbuck beat Fleury with a similar shot from a similar spot on the opposite end of the ice.
The Penguins pulled Fleury during a 4-on-4 situation with 3:20 to play. Soon after the faceoff in the Wild zone, Brodziak flipped a puck from his own end that slowly trickled into the empty net to make it 4-0 with 2:59 left.
NOTES: It was the first shutout at new Consol Energy Center. … The Penguins have lost four of five and are 5-5-2 since having a 12-game winning streak snapped. They lost in regulation for only the third time in 16 home games. … Minnesota is on a 8-2-1 stretch and has won three straight road games for the first time since the start of the 2008-09 season. … The Wild have not allowed a power-play goal in five games.
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