By Chris DiPierro
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Sean O'Donnell tallied and JS Giguere stopped 27 shots to lift the Ducks to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday at Honda Center.
With the victory, the Ducks' record improved to 5-0-2 on the season. The loss was Minnesota's first of the season.
"They're a team that's very difficult to play against," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "They force you to make real strong, structured plays all the time and they're a great defensive team."
Scott Niedermayer broke a scoreless tie at 3:25 of the second period to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. The Ducks' captain fired a puck from an impossible angle in the corner to the left of Wild netminder Manny Fernandez. The puck found its way inside the far post past Fernandez who was without a stick.
"That was just a matter of getting the puck in front of the net, maybe let our guys get a rebound," said Niedermayer. "It looked like there was a little bit of chaos. That's all I was able to pick up. A little bit of luck."
O'Donnell gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead at 10:59 of the middle period. The Ducks' defenseman pinched in toward the net and one-timed a pass from Samuel Pahlsson. It was the first goal of the season for O'Donnell, a former captain of the Wild.
"I'm not normally pinching down there, but I looked back and saw Jiggy coming [on a delayed penalty] and I heard our bench, so that's the only reason I took the chance," said O'Donnell.
Pahlsson played in his 200th consecutive game for the Ducks leaving him 37 shy of the Anaheim franchise record held by Oleg Tverdovsky who skating in 237 straight from 1999-2002.
Minnesota got one back at 12:18 of the second when Pierre-Marc Bouchard got his first of the year. Bouchard picked up a rebound to the right of the Anaheim net and put a puck past a sprawling JS Giguere to make it 2-1.
Giguere stopped 13 third period shots to secure the victory for Anaheim.
The Ducks head up I-5 on Sunday to face the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center at 3 p.m.
20:00 - END OF GAME - ANA 2, MIN 1 - FINAL SHOTS ANA 29, MIN 28
17:28 - MIN PEN - Mikko Koivu is caught high sticking Todd Fedoruk. Anaheim is now 0/3 tonight on the power play.
14:39 - MIN PEN - Kim Johnsson takes a hooking minor. Anaheim is 0/2 on the power play tonight.
4:07 - ANA PEN - Rob Niedermayer gets the gate for high sticking. Minnesota is 0/4 on the power play tonight.
0:00 - 3rd period is under way.
20:00 - END OF 2ND PERIOD - ANA 2, MIN 1. The Ducks get two even strength goals by Scott Niedermayer and Sean O'Donnell and overtake the Wild in the shots category 20-17. Minnesota got one back in the period on Bouchard's goal.
12:18 - MINNESOTA GOAL - PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD (1). Bourchard picks up a rebound to the left of a scrambling JS Giguere and deposits the puck into the net for his first goal of the season. Kurtis Foster and Brian Rolston pick up assists.
10:59 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SEAN O'DONNELL (1). O'Donnell pinches in and catches a pass across the Minnesota crease from Sammy Pahlsson and buries it on the one-time into a vacant net. The defenseman gets his first of the season from Pahlsson and Rob Niedermayer to make it 2-0.
7:17 - ANA PEN - Joe DiPenta goes off for interference.
3:25 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER (2). Niedermayer fires the puck from an impossible angle in the corner to the left of Manny Fernandez. The puck finds the inside of the far post. The goal is Scott Niedermayer from Todd Fedoruk and Corey Perry.
0:00 - 2nd period is under way.
20:00 - END OF 1ST PERIOD - ANA 0, MIN 0 - Anaheim killed off a 4 minute Minnesota power play to end the first period. Ryan Getzlaf picked up a double after trying to lift the stick of Stephane Veilleux and clipping the left winger in the face with the shaft of his stick. The Wild had the bulk of the scoring chances in the period as a result of the extended power play. JS Giguere was up to the task making 10 stops in the period. Anaheim took 5 shots on the Minnesota goal.
15:55 - ANA PEN - Ryan Getzlaf gets 4:00 for high sticking. Minnesota was 0/1 on an abbreviated power play earlier in the period.
12:56 - MIN PEN - Brian Rolston goes off for interference. Anaheim will have 1:16 of PP time after skating 4-on-4.
11:39 - ANA PEN - Ryan Shannon is caught hooking. Minnesota's first power play. The Wild have a power play operating at 27.8% (T-3rd NHL), Anaheim is 86.8% shorthanded (12th NHL)
1:53 - MIN PEN - Pavol Demitra goes off for delay of game. Anaheim's first power play. The Ducks are operating at 27.8% on the power play (T-3rd NHL) and Minnesota is killing at 90.3% (3rd NHL)
0:00 - 1st period play is under way.
Pregame - Starting goaltenders - ANA 35 JS Giguere, MIN 35 Manny Fernandez.
Scratches - ANA 18 D Ian Moran, 24 LW Stanislav Chistov, 39 C Travis Green, MIN 18 RW Mattias Weinhandl, 37 C Wes Walz, 83 RW Matt Foy.
Pregame - The Ducks have earned 10 of a possible 12 standings points in their first six games of the season. The only blemishes coming in shootout losses to the New York Islanders and the Dallas Stars. Anaheim was a 4-1 winner on Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.
Anaheim's power play was the difference in Wednesday night's contest as the Ducks beat the Wings with three power play goals in ten opportunities. The Ducks' power play is currently operating at a 27.8% clip - tied for third in the National Hockey League.
The Wild come into Honda Center tonight off of a 2-1 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday at Staples Center. Before that, Minnesota won five straight games on home ice to begin the season.
Minnesota has been very stingy on the back end so far this season allowing only 11 goals in six games - only Dallas has allowed fewer (10).
Tonight marks the final game of Anaheim's five-game homestand. However, the Ducks won't leave Southern California until a matchup next Friday with the Wild at XCEL Energy Center. Anaheim faces Los Angeles at Staples Center on Sunday at 3 p.m. and hosts Edmonton on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.
DOWNLOAD the game notes for tonight's contest.