St. Louis Blues center Andy McDonald, right, controls the puck as Minnesota Wild defenseman Kim Johnsson, (5), of Sweden, skates up in the first period of their NHL hockey game in St. Paul, Minn., Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009. (AP Photo/Andy King) By Andy King
St. Louis Blues goalie Chris Mason reaches for the puck against the Minnesota Wild in the first period of their NHL hockey game in St. Paul, Minn., Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009. (AP Photo/Andy King) By Andy King
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Guillaume Latendresse scored twice to help the Minnesota Wild beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Saturday night for their second straight victory.
Shane Hnidy and Kim Johnsson also scored, and Niklas Backstrom stopped 15 shots to improve to 7-1-1 in his last nine home games.
Andy McDonald, David Perron and Patrik Berglund scored for St. Louis. The Blues lost for the first time in four games and for just the seventh time in 18 road games.
With his team clinging to a one-goal lead, Latendresse put a rebound past a sprawled Chris Mason with less than 4 minutes remaining for his seventh career two-goal game.
Acquired Nov. 23 from Montreal, Latendresse has scored six goals in 14 contests for Minnesota, including four in his last four games.
With Mason pulled, Berglund scored for St. Louis with 1:40 to play.
Twenty-four of Minnesota's 38 games been one-goal affairs, most in the NHL. The Wild is 14-7-3 in those contests. Its 14 wins tie Pittsburgh for most in the league.
St. Louis, which completed its first franchise sweep of Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary on the same road trip earlier this week, in part, by going 5-for-10 on the power play, was 0 for 3 with the man advantage.
Latendresse gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead late in the first period, taking a pass from Greg Zanon at the St. Louis blue line, splitting two defenders and beating Mason with a slap shot.
McDonald scored midway through the second.
With the teams skating four a side, McDonald took a pass from Eric Brewer just outside the Minnesota blue line. He carried left into the Wild zone, cut across to the right circle and came back across the crease -- turning around defenseman Nick Schultz in the process -- before beating Backstrom with a high wrist shot.
Hnidy took a drop pass from Antti Miettinen, slowly skated into the left dot and beat Mason with a wrist shot early in the final period for a 2-1 lead. Miettinen curled around to screen Mason on the goal.
Johnsson gave Minnesota a two-goal cushion at 8:59, picking up a loose puck in the neutral zone, to start a two-on-one with Andrew Ebbett. From the left circle, Johnsson fired a shot that beat Mason under the left arm.
Perron cut it to 3-2 at 13:04, fighting off Schultz and pushing a rebound past a downed Backstrom. After seven games without a point, Perron has two goals and an assist in his last three games.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)