Anaheim, CA – The Anaheim Ducks have back-to-back games Friday and Saturday this weekend. Tonight they faced the Minnesota Wild in the front end. The Ducks broke out to a 3-0 lead after the first two periods. However, the Wild made a late charge to make it a one goal game in the third, but the Ducks were able to hold off the push for the 3-2 win tonight in Honda Center, eighth straight home win.
The Wild actually got the first few good scoring opportunities early in the first period. Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller stood tall until the Ducks finally started to tilt the ice in their own favor. The Ducks broke through Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper after a brilliant break out. Captain Ryan Getzlaf fed it to Kyle Palmieri who chipped the puck into the zone off the boards right to Corey Perry who then sent a nice pass to a streaking Getzlaf right in front of the net for an easy tip-in behind Kuemper, 1-0 ANA. Later on in the third period, Teemu Selanne skated the puck into the zone and put a backhand past Kuemper as he cut into the middle of the ice for the two goal lead, 2-0 ANA. In the second period, the teams traded power plays and opportunities. Until, a strange play where Kuemper didn’t know the puck was under him when Matt Beleskey skated in to poke the puck in for a goal, 3-0 ANA. Daniel Winnik just threw the puck on net from a sharp angle and it settled under Kuemper’s left pad until Beleskey found it.
In the third period, the Wild scored early, just 29 seconds in. Kyle Brodziak blasted one off the far side post and in, 3-1 ANA. The Ducks had a couple more scoring chances, but then the Wild scored to make the game a lot more interesting. Devin Setoguchi maneuvered his way into the zone and across the middle of the zone and then unleashed a slap shot that beat Hiller short side, 3-2 ANA. The Wild were buzzing the rest of the game but could not beat Hiller in the end as the Ducks held on for the 3-2 win. The Wild got a late power play where they pulled the goalie to make it a 6-on-4 power play, but still could not beat Hiller.
This was sort of a polar opposite of previous Duck wins that we have seen this season. Normally, the Ducks are the team making the late charge. This was Hiller’s best game of the season in my opinion. He faced numerous good chances from the Wild and was able to deny them all until the third period. I don’t think anyone can say that Hiller should have stopped either of the two Minnesota Wild goals. Also, a quick note, Bruce Boudreau decided to give defenseman Sheldon Souray the night off. Until tonight, I hadn’t really seen a noticeable mistake from rookie Emerson Etem. He tried a wrap around in the third period without a single Duck in front and the puck went right through the crease. That led to the rush where Setoguchi made it a one goal game. Fellow rookie Patrick Maroon played well physically, which included a fight with Wild tough guy Zenon Konopka. Overall, the Ducks found a way to win the game! That’s all that counts!
1. ANA Ryan Getzlaf (1 G)
2. ANA Jonas Hiller (W, 31 SV, .939 SV %)
3. ANA Matt Beleskey (1 G, +2)
The Ducks now face the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow night for the back end of the back-to-back. In fact, the Ducks next three games will all be against the Yotes, two of them on the road.
Tags: Anaheim Ducks Bruce Boudreau Corey Perry Daniel Winnik Darcy Kuemper Devin Setoguchi Emerson Etem Jonas Hiller Kyle Brodziak Kyle Palmieri Matt Beleskey Minnesota Wild NHL Patrick Maroon Phoenix Coyotes Ryan Getzlaf Sheldon Souray Teemu Selanne Zenon Konopka