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The Minnesota Wild look to avenge their lone loss of the season and win their 10th straight at home Friday when they take on an Anaheim Ducks team that has yet to suffer a defeat in regulation.
Minnesota opened this season with a franchise-best six straight victories before losing 2-1 at Anaheim last Friday night. Since that defeat, the first-place Wild have rebounded to win their last two games.
The Ducks, meanwhile, enter this contest on a four-game winning streak and are the only Western Conference team that hasn't registered a regulation loss this season.
Minnesota (8-1-0) extended its home win streak dating to last season to nine games with a 3-1 victory over Los Angeles on Wednesday. Brian Rolston scored twice and Todd White added a goal to back Manny Fernandez, who made 35 saves and moved to 7-1-0 with a 1.53 goals-against average.
Following Friday's game against the Ducks (7-0-2), Minnesota will play eight of its next 11 on the road.
"Hopefully we can keep going," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "All the points that we're getting could be points that could help us make the playoffs."
While Rolston has been a big part of the Wild's offensive success with a team-leading eight goals and 12 points, it's the play of the defense that has Minnesota off to the good start.
The Wild are tied with Dallas for fewest goals allowed in the NHL at 15, and have not given up a power-play goal in their last five games.
"Any defenseman that is on the ice, we have confidence that they're going to do their job," center Pierre-Marc Bouchard said. "And Manny is doing a great job. He's making some key saves."
Fernandez has a 1.85 GAA in 13 games against the Ducks, but is just 6-5 with two ties.
Like the Wild, the Ducks rely on a stifling defense. Anaheim has held opponents to 19 goals, including just six during its four-game run, and Chris Pronger has been a big part of that success.
The former Hart and Norris Trophy winner was acquired this past offseason from Edmonton and has joined Scott Niedermayer to form one of the best defensive tandems in the league.
Pronger recorded three assists against the Oilers Wednesday night and Niedermayer added a goal and an assist in Anaheim's 6-2 victory. Ryan Getzlaf and Travis Moen each scored twice, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 29 saves to improve to 6-0-2 with a 1.81 GAA on the season.
"They had a number of opportunities in the first and second and Jiggy came up big with some big saves," Pronger said. "We were fortunate enough to get off on the right foot in the second and get that two-goal lead, and we were able to continue on."
Giguere is 7-6-1 with two ties and a 2.05 GAA against the Wild.
Anaheim has been outscored 10-3 in losing its last three visits to the Xcel Energy Center.
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