PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - The Minnesota Wild downed the high-flying Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Saturday to earn their first road win of the season.
Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom made 34 saves to hand the Atlantic Division-leading Penguins (11-3) just their second defeat in 11 games.
"You definitely have to give the credit to Backstrom in this one," Wild coach Todd Richards told reporters. "He made some huge saves for us."
Minnesota defenseman Nick Schultz thought the Wild's strong effort around the net also helped.
"Backy played extremely well," Schultz said, "and we beared down in front of the net and tried to limit their second chances, and I think we did a decent job of that. It was a big win for us."
Kyle Brodziak collected Minnesota's first goal 12 minutes into the game before Pittsburgh tied the score on Pascal Dupuis' shot two and a half minutes later.
Eric Belanger put the Wild 2-1 up when he fired a one-timer past Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury with less than a second left on the clock in the first period and neither team scored again.
The win ended a string of eight consecutive road losses for Minnesota (5-9), who are mired in the basement of the Northwest Division.
The Wild took only four shots in the first period and had just 15 for the game against last season's Stanley Cup champions.
"I think we can keep our heads up after this one," said the Penguins' Sidney Crosby, who had a six-game points streak halted.
"If we outshoot a team 35-15 every game I like our chances."
Crosby also was involved in a rare fight when he and Minnesota defenseman Marek Zidlicky traded punches in the second period. Both players were penalized two minutes for slashing and five minutes for fighting.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford)