Preview: Depth on 'D' Could be a Thing as Ducks Host Wild Tonightby Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara / AnaheimDucks.com
A four-game homestand rolls along as the Ducks host the Minnesota Wild tonight at Honda Center. (6 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830). Winners of two in a row and four of their last six (4-2-0), the Ducks have also earned points in five of their last seven (4-2-1).
The Ducks are coming off a 2-1 victory on Friday night over Toronto, with goals from Carter Rowney and Adam Henrique. John Gibson stopped all 26 shots to earn his fifth consecutive 20-win season, but was replaced by Ryan Miller at the 10:20 mark of the third due to injury. With his appearance, Miller surpassed Tom Barrasso (777) for sole possession of second place on the NHL's all-time games played list for U.S.-born goaltenders.
Reinforcements to Anaheim's top-four could be returning sooner than later, with Erik Gudbranson and Josh Manson taking part in the team's full practice yesterday. Gudbranson (upper body) has missed the past 13 games and Manson (upper body) has missed two in a row. Cam Fowler (lower body) has missed nine straight, but has skated the past few days. Hampus Lindholm (upper body) remains day to day, though Ducks general manager Bob Murray said yesterday there's no timeline on his return.
The Ducks can play the spoiler role tonight against a Wild team that remains one point out of the playoff race in the West. With 75 points, Minnesota sits behind Vancouver (WC1) and Nashville (WC2) for the final two spots, but also needs to leapfrog Winnipeg (76 points). Behind them is Arizona (74 points) and Chicago (70 points). The Wild is coming off a 7-3 loss yesterday in LA, with Kings veteran Dustin Brown recording a hat trick. Despite the loss, the Wild is 7-3-0 in its last 10. Minnesota opened its three-game California trip with a 3-2 victory in San Jose on Thursday.
This is the conclusion of a three-game season series between the Ducks and Wild that began with a 4-2 Minnesota victory on Nov. 5 at Honda Center. The Ducks returned the favor on Dec. 10 with a 3-2 shootout win at Xcel Energy Center. The Ducks have posted a 35-22-10 all-time record against the Wild, including a 19-11-4 mark at home. Ryan Getzlaf leads active Ducks in career scoring vs. Minnesota with 36 points (8g/28a) in 47 career games.