By Adam Brady
Not a bad birthday for young Kyle Palmieri.
The Ducks winger had two goals on his 22nd birthday, including the game-winner that pushed the Ducks to a satisfying 3-1 victory over the visiting Minnesota Wild at Honda Center.
Meanwhile, a guy more than 19 years older than Palmieri – the ageless Teemu Selanne – had assists on all three Anaheim goals, including an insurance marker on the power play from Bobby Ryan that all but put the game away.
Palmieri, who played all night with Selanne and Ryan, said afterward, "Our line came to work tonight and we were fortunate to get some offensive scoring chances. I think coach Boudreau stressed that we were good in our own d-zone and I think we were great tonight. We played a full 200-foot game which translated into a couple goals for our line."
Viktor Fasth, making his second NHL start in the first of a back-to-back for Anaheim, had 26 saves, including a couple big stops in crunch time. "It felt good to be able to stop those pucks. I got great help from my defensemen and forwards," said the 30-year-old Fasth, who improved to 2-0 as an NHL netminder. "That’s what gave us the win tonight. We played very disciplined and worked really hard over the whole ice surface."
Selanne made the third of his three beautiful feeds with a minute and a half remaining in the game, feathering a backhand pass across the crease that Ryan banged into the open net. It was the first power play goal since opening night for the Ducks.
Palmieri put Anaheim ahead for the first time this year at Honda Center off a nice feed from Selanne, who spoon-fed Palmieri from behind the net for the easy score.
"He’s so smart," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau of Selanne. "You can take age and that will affect your legs and things, but it doesn’t affect your head. He’s as smart as they come. He has tremendous vision. He always has. When he’s on top of his game, even now, and the other guys are going with him, he’ll find them and he’ll make great plays."
Minnesota had jumped out in front midway through the first on a shot that Fasth would have loved to have back. Marco Scandella jumped on a bad pass in the high slot and fired a shot from the top of the left wing circle that snuck between Fasth’s leg pads.
The Ducks had a number of chances to get even in the period, but didn’t tie it until 6:49 into the second on a pretty goal on the odd-man rush. Selanne stole the puck and tapped it ahead to Ryan, who dragged it back and made a nice feed to Palmieri for the punch-in.
"Consistency," said Boudreau when asked the key to Anaheim's early success. "To have to be good, the good teams do that not once and a while but they do that all the time, and we would like to be thought of that way. But we have to prove it."
The Ducks will get a quick chance to prove it again, when they face the Kings back at Honda Center tomorrow night.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks win it 3-1.
18:26 - ANAHEIM GOAL - POWER PLAY - BOBBY RYAN - Another gorgeous Selanne feed makes it happen again, as Teemu just just outside the right post when he feathers a backhand across the crease to Ryan, who easily deposits it. It's 3-1 Ducks on their first power play goal since opening night.
16:40 - MIN Penalty - Tom Gilbert, 2 min. tripping. Gilbert takes down Ryan in his chase for the puck. Big PP right now.
16:29 - Scary moments in front of him, but Fasth eventually lunges to take in a Parise backhand.
16:19 - Ducks take timeout with six seconds left in the penalty.
16:19 - Fasth in good position to top and gather a point shot from Brodin.
15:46 - Fasth gloves a low-angle shot from Heatley to get a changet with 38 seconds left in the power play.
14:24 - Huge PK for Anaheim right now.
14:24 - ANA Penalty - Cam Fowler, 2 min. holding. A bad Allen turnover in Anaheim's end led to the penalty a few seconds later.
11:45 - Beleskey kicks the puck to himself off a rebound, but gets denied trying to put it back.
7:27 - Ducks keeping it in the Minny zone for about an hour and a half before Backstrom covers it and gets the whistle. Crowd loves it.
4:25 - Believe it or not, first lead at Honda Center this season for Anaheim.
4:21 - ANAHEIM GOAL - KYLE PALMIERI - The artisty of Selanne again sets up a Palmieri goal, as the Flash picks up the puck behind the net and puts it right in Palmieri's breadbasket in front, before the kid sends it into the open half of the net. It's two for Palmieri on his 22nd birthday and it's 2-1 Ducks.
2:47 - Etem nearly sweeps in a rebound off a Souray rocket before the net is knocked off its supports.
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks get one from Palmieri and we're tied 1-1 going into what will likely be a grind-it-out third.
13:59 - Bonino gets robbed by a sprawled-out Backstrom. Crowd with a noticeable groan.
11:00 - And Perry back on the ice.
9:15 - Perry back on the bench. Good sign.
9:54 - Selanne nearly sneaks in a rebound after a Palmieri shot bounces hard off the glass. That line is making things happen still.
8:20 - Perry not in good shape as he takes a hard shoulder-to-jaw hit from Stoner. He's in obvious pain and heads down the tunnel.
6:49 - ANAHEIM GOAL - KYLE PALMIERI - Selanne steals the puck nicely and taps it ahead to Ryan to set up the odd-man rush. Ryan pulls the puck back and makes a gorgeous cross-ice feed to Palmieri, who punches it home for his second of the year. It's 1-1.
2:25 - Fasth easily gloves the seventh Minny shot of the night.
0:00 - Off and running in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks with plenty of chances, but one bad goal has them down 1-0 after one.
17:15 - Winnik nearly forces one through on the rush. Backstrom held strong.
14:38 - Ducks with an 11-5 shot advantage. Minny leading in a more important category.
9:44 - MINNESOTA GOAL - MARCO SCANDELLA - Scandella is at the right place at the right time, as a misguided pass by Cullen ends up on his stick. His shot from the top of the left wing circle sneaks under Fasth, who'd definitely like to have that one back. It's 1-0 Minny.
8:05 - Fowler beautifully slaloms his way to the net, but Backstrom robs him. Etem's hard follow is blocked in front. Nice action though.
7:29 - MIN Penalty - Pierre-Marc Bouchard, 2 min. high sticking. PMB (no idea if he's actually called that) gets Getzlaf in the face near center ice.
6:15 - Palmieri, Ryan and Selanne flying early.
5:00 - Souray rips a one-timer on a puck that came off the wall, and Backstrom shoulders it away.
3:40 - Fowler gets away with a swing and a miss turnover when a Minny shot goes too high and smacks the glass.
3:00 - First appearance of Sami Vatanen in an NHL game.
2:45 - Fourth line of Etem, Bonino and Smith-Pelly generating some early action. Keep an eye on those dudes.
0:30 - Getzlaf with some trouble handling the puck on that first shift.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
Fasth in net in the first of a back-to-back; Vatanen to make his NHL debut tonight; Lydman a scratch to rest in the first of a back-to-back.