ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -In this season's first meeting between two teams that figure to be among the best in the NHL's Western Conference, the Ducks were a little bit better than the Wild.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 27 saves, defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Sean O'Donnell scored second-period goals, and Anaheim ended Minnesota's season-opening winning streak at six games with a 2-1 victory Friday night.
The loss left Buffalo as the NHL's only team with a perfect record. The Sabres defeated Carolina 5-4 earlier Friday to run their record to 7-0, the first team to win its first seven games since Pittsburgh in 1994-95.
The Ducks won for the fifth time in their seven games, losing two games in shootouts.
Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle knew the Ducks would be in for a test against the much-improved Wild.
"They did some things that forced us a little bit out of our comfort zone," he said. "But we found a way to get our game going in the second period.
"They're a team that's very difficult to play against. They force you to make real strong, structured plays all the time. They're a great defensive team."
Niedermayer also complimented the Wild.
"They're a good team, getting their sticks in and knocking pucks around. We knew what we had to try and do against them - control the puck and not give it to them," Niedermayer said.
"Their forwards do a really good job of controlling the puck."
Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored the Wild's lone score, closing the gap to 2-1 at 12:18 of the second period with what turned out to be the game's final goal.
"It could have gone either way," Minnesota defenseman Keith Carney said of the tight game against his former teammates. "They got a good bounce on their first goal and got the lead on us. We just didn't take advantage of our chances. Both teams played well."
Bouchard swatted a shot around Giguere from some 10 feet to the left of the crease for his first goal of the season. Kurtis Foster and Brian Rolston assisted on the score at 12:18 of the period, with Rolston picking up his fourth assist and team-high ninth point.
Niedermayer scored Anaheim's first goal with an alert play at 3:25 of the second period. Seeing that Manny Fernandez had his stick knocked from his hand, Niedermayer quickly wristed a shot from the right corner that slid between the goalie's pads.
"It looked like there was a little bit of chaos," Niedermayer said. "That's all I was able to pick up. A little bit of luck."
The goal was Niedermayer's second of the season, with Todd Fedoruk and Corey Perry getting assists.
O'Donnell gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead with his first goal of the season, taking a pass across the crease from Samuel Pahlsson and flicking the puck past Fernandez at 10:59 of the second.
Fernandez, who made a number of fine saves, faced 29 shots in losing for the first time in six starts this season.
Giguere and Fernandez each survived a close call in the opening period to keep the game scoreless.
Giguere, flat on his back near the top of the crease, managed to reach behind him and secure the puck during a scramble in front of the goal about midway through the period. Fernandez made a similar save a few minutes later.
Notes: Minnesota C Wes Walz, out with a left hip flexor, skated during the morning workout but did not play. ... The Ducks have beaten the Wild four of their last five meetings in Anaheim. ... The Wild's first five games were at home. They beat Los Angeles 2-1 in overtime Wednesday in their first stop on a three-game road trip. They wrap it up in San Jose on Saturday night before returning home to host the Kings and the Ducks.
|AnaheimDucks.com is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and AnaheimDucks.com are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.|