Wild 4, Ducks 3 (OT)
Anaheim nearly became the first team ever to hand the Wild a regulation loss in a home opener at Minnesota, but the Ducks could not hold on to a late three-goal lead and fell 4-3 in overtime.
With defenseman James Wisniewski
in the penalty box, Andrew Brunette scored the game-winner on the power play in the extra session. The Ducks did secure one point and now have a 0-1-1 record in the young season.
The Ducks got second period goals from Joffrey Lupul
, Evgeny Artyukhin and Saku Koivu
(each acquired by the team in the offseason) but were held to just two shots in the final 20 minutes of regulation as Minnesota rallied.
Trailing 3-0 with less than 14 minutes to play in the third, the Wild got goals from Mikko Koivu, Petr Sykora and Eric Belanger to send the game to overtime.
It was an exciting start for Minnesota with Todd Richards coaching his first regular season game in his home state for the Wild, who are now 8-0-1 all-time in home openers since joining the NHL in 2000.
Looking to bounce back after a 4-1 loss to San Jose at Honda Center on Saturday, the Ducks instead saw a seemingly secure lead slip away.
With the teams skating four-on-four in overtime, Wisniewski was penalized for roughing during a post-whistle skirmish. Brunette poked a puck past Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere on the ensuing power play for the Wild’s first win of the season.
Lupul, who returned to Anaheim in the June trade that sent star defenseman Chris Pronger to Philadelphia, opened the scoring with his first goal of the season near the five-minute mark of the second, tipping a Ryan Whitney shot past Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom. Less than a minute later Lupul was helped from the ice after going down to block an Antti Miettinen shot and getting hit in the face by the puck. He returned to the game after receiving stitches over his right eyebrow.
Artyukhin and Saku Koivu
(on a power play) scored in quick succession later, building a 3-0 lead for the Ducks.
Giguere, who has made a habit of frustrating the Wild in his career, finished with 28 saves in his first start of the season.
The Ducks have not lost in regulation in their last 10 road games, after finishing the 2008-09 regular season on a 7-0-2 streak away from home. … With Minnesota on a power play late in the first period and the puck at neutral ice, fans in the building erupted in a loud ovation as the Minnesota Twins’ game-winning hit versus the Tigers was shown on televisions in the arena’s concourse and suites.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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