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Ducks continue to soar at home, beat Wild

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- Minutes after Corey Perry lay prone on the ice from an accidental collision with teammate Hampus Lindholm, he clumsily pumped his fist in celebration.

Such is the home-ice mojo of Perry and the Anaheim Ducks that they can only be stopped briefly by such freak plays before their impressive streaks continued with a 2-1 win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night at Honda Center.

Perry extended his goal-scoring streak to an NHL-leading seven games and the Ducks remained the only team in the NHL that hasn't lost in regulation at home (12-0-2). Jonas Hiller made 23 saves, including a dazzling stop on Charlie Coyle's breakaway in the third period, to edge Wild goalie Josh Harding, who finished with 29 saves.

Perry was felled by Lindholm in the second period and appeared to be in discomfort on the bench. He came back out later and swiped in a loose puck out of the air from the left side at 13:27. Perry’s 21st goal this season stood as the game winner, and he shrugged off the Lindholm play.

"Did I get hit?" Perry joked. "It's only Hamper, so it's nothing."

Perry is on pace for his second 50-goal season, the first of which led to the Hart Trophy. Most of his goals this season are coming from the same place.

"That's what you've got to do," Perry said. "You look at a lot of goals in this League, [they] are scored in that 10-foot radius around the net. I'm just trying to go there and trying to be a big body in front of the net, and things are happening."

While the Ducks cook at home, the Wild are floundering on the road. Minnesota has scored three goals in its past four road games, including two shutouts. The game was the first of seven of eight games away from Xcel Energy Center.

Minnesota did get its first power-play goal in four road games on Jason Pominville's team-leading 15th goal 3:48 into the third. The Wild also held a Ducks team that was averaging 3.64 goals per game at home to two. But the forecheck was weak and the chances few.

"Defensively, I think we're good," Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu said. "Offensively, we have to find it, each and every line. We have to create more. It's tough to win with one goal ... it's a matter of scoring goals, getting that confidence up. It's not easy, but it's about execution. You just have to start creating and find a way."

The Wild looked overpowered by the Ryan Getzlaf line in the second period. Getzlaf created the scoring chance on Perry's goal when he stopped below the goal line and fed Lindholm for the shot to extend his point streak to 13 games, tied for longest in the League (Getzlaf has points in the past 15 games he has played).

Even Anaheim rookie defenseman Alex Grant is enjoying success two games into his NHL career. He gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead at 2:37 when he came down the right side, 1-on-4, and beat Harding on the short blocker side. Grant has two goals on two shots since he was recalled Nov. 29.

"I definitely never imagined that," Grant said, "but like I said, I'll take it."

Grant's other goal came against the San Jose Sharks when he caught Antti Niemi off guard. This one came when Harding cheated slightly. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau didn't see Grant in training camp because he was hurt, but one aspect has become clear while Grant fills in on the Ducks' banged-up blue line.

"He's got a tremendous shot," Boudreau said. "We were told his shot was great and he had seven goals in Norfolk [of the American Hockey League] being on the power play and using his shot, and you can see it."

Harding, who entered the game with an NHL-leading 1.50 goals-against average, was otherwise brilliant in keeping Minnesota in the game. He made a remarkable glove grab midway through the second on what appeared to be an open net for Teemu Selanne, who is trying to end an 18-game goal-less streak.

Harding also gloved a shot from Perry moments after Dustin Penner hit the cross bar in the second period during a Ducks power play. Harding was the game's best player in the opening period; he stopped Matt Beleskey when the latter split a pair of defenders and broke in for a backhand.

Minnesota's top line of Zach Parise, Koivu and Pominville was matched up against the Daniel Winnik-Saku Koivu-Andrew Cogliano line most of the night and broke through when Pominville easily backhanded in a loose puck after Ryan Suter wristed a shot on net.

But that was it for Minnesota and coach Mike Yeo, who put Jason Zucker on the second line and dropped Dany Heatley to the fourth in order to send a message and generate some more goals. Heatley put no shots on goal and Zucker was a guilty party on Grant's goal. Nino Niederreiter has now gone nine straight games without a goal.

"We're close to the guy, we're not going after him," Yeo said. "That's not us. That's not how we played the game. We're about taking time and space away, and we allowed the guy just to skate in when we've got an opportunity to put some pressure on him. We'll address that."

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