This time, the Anaheim Ducks
managed to hang onto their 3-0 lead -- barely.
Corey Perry scored a pair of first-period goals as the Ducks avenged a painful loss in Minnesota last week with a 3-2 victory over the Wild on Wednesday night.The Ducks blew a 3-0 third-period lead in Minnesota eight days ago in a game the Ducks won 4-3 in overtime. This time, the Ducks again led 3-0 before Eric Belanger scored late in the second period and Andrew Brunette added a goal with less than 10 seconds remaining.
But the Wild ran out of time. Jonas Hiller made 32 saves for the Ducks, who used a fast start to hand the Wild their fourth loss in five games.
"It was a step in the right direction," center Todd Marchant said. "We have a long way to go. We have to follow it up."
Perry beat goaltender Niklas Backstrom with a backhander 1:41 into the game and converted Bobby Ryan's pass at 8:29. Ryan Carter added a second-period goal for the Ducks, who were playing their first home game after a four-game trip that began in Minnesota.
"Coming off the road, we needed a big win, and we got that," Perry said. "If we come out like we did tonight, we'll be all right."
Anaheim (3-2-1) has won three of its last four. Minnesota heads for Western Canada after three consecutive losses in California.
Wild coach Todd Richards was not at all happy with his team's performance in the opening 20 minutes.
"In the first period, not everyone on the team was ready to compete," he said. "In the second period, we made more of a commitment to do that."
Perry put the Ducks ahead with a brilliant individual effort. He knocked down Shane Hnidy's clearing pass at the blue line, broke in on Backstrom and slid across the crease to his right but dragged the puck behind him before going top shelf with a backhander.
It was the first first-period goal by the Ducks this season.
"Coming off the road, we needed a big win, and we got that. If we come out like we did tonight, we'll be all right.."
-- Corey Perry
They got the second one less than seven minutes later when Perry took Ryan's pass from the left corner, came across the crease and outwaited Backstrom, who lifted his pad only to see Perry slide the puck under it."I thought we came out really strong in the first period," said center Saku Koivu, who played against younger brother Mikko for the first time as a Duck. "That was the difference for us."
Minnesota found its stride in the second period, taking nine of the first 10 shots and testing Hiller. But the Ducks got the third goal at 15:11 when Backstrom stopped Mike Brown's nondescript shot from the right point but left the rebound in the slot -- where Carter picked it up and banged it home for his first of the season.
Hiller lost his shutout at 16:35 when Belanger picked off Luca Sbisa's attempted clear, stepped into the slot and sizzled a wrist shot past the goaltender's glove.
The Wild had their chances in the third period, but Richards said the power play's failure to produce was a major problem
"The power play killed us," he said. "Every time we were on the power play, we couldn't do a thing. We executed well coming up the ice, but once we got into the zone, we did nothing."
Brunette, who missed a glorious chance with 4:35 left when he fired wide from the slot, cut the deficit to one goal when he banged in Kyle Brodziak's rebound with 9.1 seconds remaining.
--John Kreiser, NHL.com
Material from team online media was used in this report