Earlier this week, Wild coach Mike Yeo said it was time for one of his two goaltenders - Niklas Backstrom or Josh Harding - to take over the No. 1 job on a consistent basis. If both are auditioning for the majority of the work, Backstrom has made a strong impression.

He stopped 37 shots in the Wild's 1-0 victory Thursday night over Colorado, turning away 17 shots in the third period. Backstrom has played in 31 of the Wild's 56 games, but as Minnesota struggled through the second half of December and much of January, his play dipped; he allowed at least three goals in seven consecutive games, and the Wild won just one of those games.

In his past two games - both wins over the Avalanche - Backstrom has stopped 61 of 63 shots. He'll start again tonight at Dallas, where the Wild will try to win for the first time since 2003. If Backstrom keeps playing the technically sound game he's played in his past two starts, he'll give the team a good chance.

"His focus coming out of the (all-star) break, he seemed real sharp every day in practice," Yeo said. " I thought he was in control all night. He was controlling his rebounds, and positionally, he was in a great spot. He never looked like he was in trouble."