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Ducks end scoring drought in win against Wild

by Abbey Mastracco / NHL.com

ANAHEIM -- Hampus Lindholm had a goal and an assist for the Anaheim Ducks, who ended their scoring drought in a 4-1 win against the Minnesota Wild at Honda Center on Sunday.

The Ducks (1-3-1) entered the finale of a four-game homestand without a victory in four attempts and having scored one goal. But defenseman Cam Fowler sent his point shot through traffic and behind Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk at 10:08 of the first period, ending the Ducks a scoreless streak that lasted 173:12.

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said the goal allowed his team to finally breathe a collective sigh of relief.

"You could see it was like letting the air out of a big balloon," Boudreau said. "And it was the same for the people in the stands and I think that's why they cheered for so long after it was scored. They wanted to see a goal as bad as we did."

Throughout the course of the nearly scoreless week, the frustration built and the Ducks began to grip their sticks tighter.

"I think it was huge," said forward Rickard Rakell, who gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead late in the first period. "When you've had chances for so many games and so many shots and blocked shots, to see that go in -- especially that early in the game -- it was big."

The game was tied at 12:55 when Nino Niederreiter beat Lindholm to a loose puck and put a low shot past Ducks goalie Anton Khudobin. But Rakell responded at 16:01, tipping in Lindholm's one-timer to put the Ducks up 2-1.

Rakell was the first forward to score for Anaheim this season. The center nearly put the Ducks up 3-1 at 4:41 of the third period, but Dubynk denied his backhand attempt.

The Wild's best chance to tie came 3:09 into the third when Zach Parise had a chance from the slot that was blocked by Lindholm.

Mike Santorelli made it 3-1 at 8:58 when he tipped in a rebound of Shawn Horcoff's shot. Lindholm scored an empty-net goal at 18:51.

Following a 3-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, the Ducks focused on putting more traffic in front of the net and were pleased that their efforts resulted in three goals.

"When we're playing perimeter hockey and we're getting too cute, that's when we get in a lot of trouble," Fowler said. "A lot of the goals we scored were from right in front of the crease, which is the identity of our team, so we got back to doing that. Get some pucks back to the point and feed them through and that's where our big forwards go to work."

After giving up three goals in under 13 minutes Wednesday against the Arizona Coyotes, Khudobin bounced back with a 34-save performance.

"I really believed he was going to play very good today because he's been a good goalie all along," Boudreau said. "Sometimes you have a bad game and throw the guy right back in. He proved what he was, and that's a good goaltender."

Minnesota outshot Anaheim 35-22 and had two golden opportunities -- one in the first period and another in the third -- that hit the crossbar.

"I think it's a good thing that we're getting chances, but we have a little bit of work," Wild captain Mikko Koivu said. "It's a good sign, getting chances, but like I said, it's a little frustrating when it hits the crossbar like that. It's a one-goal game in the third if we get that second on in."

Dubnyk finished with 18 saves in his first loss of the season. The Wild are 1-9-1 in their past 11 games against the Ducks.

"Funny game. It might have been our best game of the year," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "We've had too many of those, where we don't bury when we get chances and we do too many things and it feels like you're controlling the play. And then at the end of the night, you leave wondering why you didn't win."

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