By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – An early 3-0 lead against the Minnesota Wild was nothing new for the Ducks, but this time what they did with that lead was much more satisfying.
Just eight days after losing that three-goal cushion and falling 4-3 in overtime in Minnesota, the Ducks this time held their ground and polished off a 3-2 victory over the Wild at Honda Center. Minnesota did get a second period goal by Eric Belanger but didn’t pot another until Andrew Brunette found the net with 9.1 seconds remaining that was too little too late for the visitors.
The Ducks jumped out in front 2-0 in the first period on the strength of two Corey Perry
goals in the first 8 1/2 minutes. Perry got the Ducks on the board just 1:41 in, knocking the puck down at the Minnesota blueline and facing a 1-on-1 with goalie Niklas Backstrom. Sliding from his left to his right in front of the net, Perry dragged the puck behind himself before roofing it backhand.
Perry showed off that trademark patience on the second goal, taking a pass right in front of the net from Bobby Ryan
, then waiting for Backstrom to go down before flipping it over him.
"We know what kind of player he is," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "We’ve been around him enough to understand that he’s a goal-scorer and he can score some big goals for your hockey club. He’s done that and it’s good to see he’s been rewarded with a good start."
Perry's early production tonight was a refreshing start for a Ducks team that hadn't found the net in the first period in five games this season. "We haven’t come out in a first period all season," Perry said. "It’s a must, especially in our own building."
Anaheim took a 3-0 lead with 4:49 left in the second when Ryan Carter
punched in a rebound off a Mike Brown shot from along the right wing wall.
Unlike their last meeting, this time Minnesota didn’t wait until the third to cut into the lead, as Belanger intercepted the puck at the Anaheim blueline and fired a wrist shot from the slot that zinged by Jonas Hiller
’s glove with 3:25 left in the second.
But Minnesota would get no closer until 9.1 seconds remained in the game and Backstrom had headed to the bench for an extra attacker. Hiller and Steve Eminger couldn’t sweep away a loose puck following a Kyle Brodziak shot on the rush, and Brodziak was able to poke it underneath Hiller into the crease, where Brunette chipped it in.
That made it 3-2 Anaheim, but it was too little too late for Minnesota, as the Ducks held on over the closing seconds to secure their third win in the last four games.
"We can be quite proud with the way we played tonight, especially coming back from the road," said Hiller, who had 32 stops on the night. "It’s never easy. Everybody showed, especially in the first period, that we were ready. We didn’t back off too much in the third. We controlled the game most of the time. That is the way we have to play."
It was also a nice way to kick off a six-game homestand, their next game coming Saturday night against St. Louis.
"Coming off the road, we’re going to rest our bodies, rejuvenate and be ready," said Perry. "This is our home rink. It is where we want to get our wins. We want to own this building. If we play like we did tonight, we’re going to be alright."
The six-game homestand matches the second-longest of the season (also Mar. 7-21). A season-long seven-game homestand will take place Nov. 19 – Dec. 1.
Anaheim improved its all-time record vs. Minnesota at home to 10-5-2.
The Ducks recorded a season-high 35 shots on goal tonight.
has 4-3=7 points in his last five games, including multi-goal efforts in two of his last four (4-2=6).
won his third consecutive start (3-0-0), stopping 32-of-34 shots. In those three appearances, he has stopped 98-of-103 shots for a 1.63 GAA and .951 SV %.
Tonight’s attendance was 15,111.
19:51 - Minnesota timeout.
19:51 - MINNESOTA GOAL - ANDREW BRUNETTE - On the rush, Kyle Brodziak takes a shot that kicks off Hiller, and neither he not Steve Eminger can sweep it away. Brodziak again gets his stick on it and send it under Hiller into the paint, where Brunette easily chips it into the open net. Ducks lead cut to 3-2 with just 9.1 left
18:45 - Christensen gets a look at the open net from the wing, but his shot is blocked by a Wild defenseman.
18:30 - Backstrom to the bench for an extra skater.
16:02 - Last timeout with 3:58 left and the Ducks up 3-1.
15:25 - Ducks dodge a bullet as Andrew Brunette (the guy with the overtime winner last week) misses the night on a wide open one-timer.
14:15 - Selanne fires a backhand through a crowd that barely misses the cage.
12:51 - MIN Penalty - Mikko Koivu, 2 min. slashing. First we've heard from a very quiet Koivu kid brother.
11:13 - Big kill for the boys in black.
10:25 - Getzlaf picks off the puck and gets on a 2-on-1 with the one Wild defender barely trailing Lupul. Getzlaf waits too long to dump it to Lupul and the puck kicks away. Missed opportunity for Anaheim.
9:13 - ANA Penalty - Nick Boynton, 2 min. holding. I'm not too sure about that one, as Boynton presumably gets called for grabbing Brodziak in the corner.
6:13 - MIN Penalty - Shane Hnidy, 2 min. hooking. Another power play for the Ducks, with Perry on the first unit.
4:40 - Tons of chances for Anaheim around the crease, but nothing through, including a chance for Koivu to put in a rebound in front of an open net that he misses out on.
4:30 - Nice second power play unit with four forwards -- Koivu, Lupul, Getzlaf and Selanne -- and one d-man -- Niedermayer.
4:19 - Ryan cocks and fires a one-timer from the circle -- saved.
3:22 - MIN Penalty - Greg Zanon, 2 min. holding. Zanon gets tangled with Selanne behind the Minnesota net.
1:03 - Perry AGAIN with a bid for the hattie, firing a shot from the circle on the rush and nearly punching in the rebound.
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Carter gives the Ducks a three-goal cushion, but the Wild claw back with a Belanger tally to make it 3-1.
18:50 - A bad bounce off the back boards puts the puck right in front of Hiller in the painted area. James Sheppard swoops by and swats at it, but Hiller denies.
17:58 - Getzlaf tries to fire on net from deep in the corner and it hits Greg Zanon in the side of the head. He doesn't look too comfortable on the bench.
16:35 - MINNESOTA GOAL - ERIC BELANGER - Belanger picks off the puck as Sbisa tries to send it down the ice and he heads into the Anaheim zone with only Whitney in front of him. Belanger whips a shot from the slot that sizzles by the outstretched glove of Hiller. It's 3-1 Ducks.
15:11 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN CARTER - Mike Brown throws a shot on net from along the right wing wall and it kicks off Backstrom's leg pads right to Carter in front, and he punches it underneath and through. First of the year for the nicest kid in Anaheim and the Ducks go in front 3-0. Same lead they took through two periods in Minnesota last week. I won't elaborate on that.
10:10 - Selanne gives Christensen a nice feed in the slot, and Christensen's try is just knocked away by Backstrom. Second Christensen shot in the last minute that the Wild goaltender barely gets a piece of.
13:45 - The Ducks held a 12-3 shot advantage in the first. Now they trail 21-17.
13:37 - Slightly tense moment as the puck is kicking around precariously in the Anaheim crease, but Hiller dives and smothers it.
The Ducks killed a penalty in the second, so everyone in the crowd gets a free taco from Del Taco. Not too shabby. Let's hope I don't eat mine at 2 in the morning, something I do way too often.
10:05 - Perry again with a shot at that third, as the puck bounces high in the air around him and right in front of Backstrom, but he can't locate it. Seconds later, Ryan fires on net and it's just saved. Zero career hatties for Perry, by the way.
7:31 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne
, 2 min. slashing. Selanne chops at the legs of Kim Johnsson.
5:50 - Perry is denied the hat trick by the slimmest of margins, as he tries a wraparound with Backstrom out of position and can't quite get all his stick blade on it.
4:30 - Hiller with another great stop as James Sheppard has some daylight after coming around the net on a wraparound, but Hiller extends the leg pad to kill it.
2:45 - Benoit Pouliot comes out of the pack on a 2 on 1 with Boynton back to defend, and Pouliot whips a shot that Hiller makes a nice stop on.
0:00 - Off and running in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Heck of a first 20 for the Ducks, who outshoot Minny 14-8 and get two from Perry to take a 2-0 lead.
17:22 - Selanne skids to a stop and makes a cross-crease pass to Christensen, whose one-timer is just gloved by Backstrom. Nice save.
It's trivia time and Kim (a dude) gets this question: Name the three Ducks named to SportsIllustrated.com's 25 Best NHL Players Under 25. Sadly enough, Kim goes to the crowd for the answer, like a Price is Right contestant, and rattles off Ryan, Getzlaf and Perry. And he's right!
16:19 - Shots 12-5 in favor of the Ducks.
13:49 - ANA Penalty - Evgeny Artyukhin, 2 min. roughing and 5 min. fighting and MIN Shane Hnidy, 5 min. fighting. After the whistle, Artyukhin and Hnidy get into it, and it's a lot of clutching and grabbing before either throws a punch. Finally, the firsts start flying and Artyukhin gets Hnidy's hat off before blasting him with a couple of overhead rights. I'm wondering if "I must break you" was uttered before the fight.
12:55 - Getzlaf and former Duck Shane Hnidy get tangled behind the net and Getzlaf takes a spill. No fallout from the incident though.
9:59 - MIN Penalty - Marek Zidlicky, 2 min. high sticking. Zidlicky gets the blade a little high in knocking down Artyukhin. First power play for Anaheim.
8:29 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Another beauty from Perry after Ryan gives him a nice pass out of the corner with only Backstrom in front of Perry. As he's gliding to his right, Perry waits, waits, waits for Backstrom to go down before easily flipping it over him. Perry again showing a ridiculous amount of patience before taking the shot. He may be one of the best in the league at that. It's 2-0 quack.
9:01 - Niedermayer fires a shot from the point that just misses, as does Ryan's follow.
6:30 - The Ducks gets on a shorthanded 3-on-2 rush led by Bobby Ryan
on the right wing. Ryan waits for the right time to slide the puck across to a charging Ryan Whitney, but it's poked away. Maybe should have shot it himself.
4:49 - ANA Penalty - Evgeny Artyukhin, 2 min. tripping. After the trip, Artyukin and Nick Schultz both lose their balance and go slamming violently into the wall. Kind of scary and Artyukhin gets the gate.
1:41 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Unbelievable play by Perry, who knocks down the puck at the Minnesota blueline as the Wild are trying to clear it out. He immediately controls it and gets on a partial breakaway down the left side of the slot with just Backstrom to beat. Perry then makes a sick move in which he slides across the crease to his right, but drags the puck behind himself before backhanding it top shelf. Gorgeous play and it's 1-0 early. First time the Ducks scored in the first period this season, by the way.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; MIN Niklas Backstrom
Starting Skaters - ANA Steve Eminger, Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne
, Saku Koivu
, Erik Christensen; MIN Greg Zanon, Brent Burns, Mikko Koivu, Martin Havlat, Andrew Brunette
Scratches - ANA Petteri Nokelainen, Sheldon Brookbank
, Andrew Ebbett; MIN Petr Sykora, Jaime Sifers, Pierre-Marc Bouchard