Winger Zach Parise scored a goal and added two assists, center
Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist and goaltender Darcy
Kuemper made 31 saves as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Anaheim
Ducks 4-2 on Tuesday.
The Wild (29-20-6) extended their record in January to 9-3-1 with
the victory and jumped ahead of the Vancouver Canucks into the top
wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Wild coach Mike Yeo thought his team's effort was one of the finest
of the season. In a season that has had its share of stress for Yeo,
he was able to enjoy the result in the game's final moments.
"When you're standing behind the bench and you hear the players
talking to each other, that's something you can't hear when you
watch the game on TV," Yeo said. "To see how that battled, it was
certainly a fun night"
The victory was the first over the Ducks since 2011 for the Wild and
the first points registered by Parise in his third game back from
injury. With veteran center Mikko Koivu sidelined with an ankle
injury, a return to form by Parise is essential for the Wild to
remain in playoff position.
"This is the best I felt since my return," Parise said. "This is a
tough building to play in. We forced them into some bad spots and
had the puck more. We always have to be better with our puck
possession and tonight was a good step."
Anaheim (39-11-5) lost its second consecutive home game after going
23 games without a regulation loss at the Honda Center to open the
season. Winger Dustin Penner and center Mathieu Perreault scored and
goaltender Jonas Hiller stopped 29 Minnesota shots in the loss.
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau gave credit to the winners and said his
team should get used to seeing the best from each opponent for the
rest of the season.
"Our performance over the first half of the season put a big target
on our backs," Boudreau conveyed. "We are going to have to match
their energy every night, no one is going to give us anything
because everyone is battling for the playoffs."
The Ducks were emotionally spent after two victories against the
arch-rival Los Angeles Kings last week and it showed in their game
Tuesday. Center Ryan Getzlaf admitted that his play contributed to
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"We played way too loose in our own end tonight," Getzlaf said. "My
game was nowhere near where it needed to be and as a group we are
all disappointed in the effort."
Entering the third period with a 2-1 lead, Minnesota put the game
away with two goals in a space of 1:46. Winger Zach Parise scored
his first goal since returning from injury. His 16th marker came off
a deflection of defenseman Marco Scandella's shot from the point and
center Erik Haula followed with a tip-in of his own with 11:39
remaining in regulation.
Minnesota jumped on top with a bad angle goal by winger Jason
Pominville at 7:57 of the opening period. A shot by center Mikael
Granlund was deflected to the left corner behind Hiller and
Pominville thru a soft wrist shot toward the net that Hiller failed
to track for his team-leading 21st goal of the season.
Anaheim prevented further damage by killing off consecutive
penalties to defenseman Luca Sbisa followed by Hiller stopping
center Kyle Brodziak breakaway attempt soon after the Pominville
The Ducks evened the score at 18:13 of the opening frame when Penner
ripped a slap shot past Kuemper for his 13th goal of the season.
Getzlaf got possession behind the Minnesota net and found Penner,
who delivered a one-timer with winger Corey Perry drawing the
The Wild grabbed their second lead of the night in the opening
minute of the second period on the power play. Granlund potted his
fourth goal of the season off a give-and-go with Parise at :13 with
defenseman Ryan Suter earning the additional assist.
NOTES: Wild G Darcy Kuemper started his eighth straight game. ...
Minnesota did not dress LW Jason Zucker and LW Stephane Veilleux.
... The Wild's 3-2 overtime loss in San Jose on Saturday was their
first overtime loss since Oct. 5 against Anaheim. ... Ducks C Ryan
Getzlaf played in his 607th game in an Anaheim sweater, passing Paul
Kariya for fourth place in games played as a Duck. ... Anaheim
scratched RW Tim Jackman, D Mark Fistric and C Daniel Winnik. ...
Ducks D Luca Sbisa returned to the lineup for the first time since
Nov. 23, missing 26 games due to a right hand injury.
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