Wild silence Coyotes, make win streak 4 on Fontaine's hat trick


Niklas Backstrom won his third straight start Thursday, the same amount of goals Justin Fontaine scored on the night, in Minnesota's 4-1 win over Phoenix.

Fontaine capped his hat trick with an empty net goal with 1:12 left in the final period to ice Minnesota's victory, and the Wild have now had two hat tricks in five days after not posting one since 2010.

Backstrom, Minnesota's other standout of the night, stopped 39 Phoenix shots, the same number Darcy Kuemper halted against Los Angeles Tuesday in the Wild's 2-1 win over the Kings.

Filling in for Josh Harding, who missed his fourth straight game with an undisclosed illness, Backstrom continues his trek back to .500, improving to 5-9-2 on the year.

Jon Blum, making his Wild debut in place of the struggling Keith Ballard, played nearly 13 minutes while putting one shot on net.

Phoenix falls two points behind the Wild in the west, as suddenly-hot Minnesota took their fourth game in a row to get to 53 points and move into sole possession of the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Wild back on the ice Saturday against Colorado in St. Paul.

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