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Ducks waste three-goal lead but rally past Wild

by Dan Myers / NHL.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Anaheim Ducks forward Tim Jackman has carved out a career as a gritty, dependable fourth-liner in the NHL. But against the Minnesota Wild on Friday, he looked more like a first-line sniper.

Jackman scored 3:37 into the third period to tie the score before Matt Beleskey's go-ahead goal gave the Ducks a 5-4 victory in a back-and-forth game at Xcel Energy Center.

As pretty as Jackman's goal was, the timing was impeccable. A goal by Justin Fontaine at 2:07 of the third period was Minnesota's fourth unanswered and gave the Wild a 4-3 lead after they had trailed 3-0 early in the second period.

But 90 seconds later, Jackman gained control of an outlet pass from Ryan Kesler 125 feet from the Minnesota net, cruised through the neutral zone and moved into the left circle, where his initial shot was blocked. The rebound came right back to him and Jackman shot it under the glove of Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper, tying the game at 4-4.

"It was good to get that response and tie it up right away," Jackman said. "It gave us some confidence again."

Almost five minutes later, the Ducks scored the winner on Beleskey's 13th of the season, a quick one-timer from the slot after a passout from Ryan Getzlaf.

"We did what we do best and that's play below the circles," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We took advantage of it and [Beleskey], who's had a pretty hot hand this year, scored again."

"This year, he seems to have a knack to find the right areas at the right time," Getzlaf said. "He's been great. [Beleskey] has been working hard and doing the right things."

Anaheim built a three-goal lead early in the second. Kesler scored on a breakaway 1:31 into the game to give the Ducks an early lead. He also capped a 2-on-2 rush 2:28 into the second for a two-goal night. In between, Jakob Silfverberg scored on a rebound of an Andrew Cogliano shot at 11:44 of the first period to make it 2-0.

"We were flat," Wild forward Zach Parise said of Minnesota's start. "We talked about how they are a good forechecking team. I don't know if we just didn't believe it or what, but we had a hard time getting out against their pressure."

But Minnesota's power play, among the NHL's worst, scored twice in 11 seconds to get the Wild back into the game.

Mikko Koivu made it 3-1 at 4:59 of the second period, banking a shot off Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner and past Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen during a 5-on-3 advantage.

The Wild controlled the ensuing faceoff, getting the puck to Mikael Granlund at center, who sucked in a defender and dished a spin-o-rama pass to Parise. Andersen got a piece of his shot from well inside the left circle, but the puck trickled over the goal line for his 10th.

"Until those penalties happened, I thought they were pretty lifeless," Boudreau said. "I think I made the mistake of saying 'Finally, we're going to win a game [going away],' so it's my fault."

Minnesota tied the score at 3-3 at 17:49 when Jonas Brodin's snap shot from the point tucked under the crossbar for his first of the season.

"We did a great job battling back; give our guys credit for that," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "I don't know if we had too much respect for them or we were just watching. We were on our heels and watching. Once we started to get a little bit ticked off, started to get a little bit nasty, then we started to find our game."

Fontaine gave the Wild their first lead of the night at 2:07 of the third, scoring in transition on a slap shot through Andersen's arm from the top of the right circle.

Jackman also assisted on Kesler's second goal of the game, his first assist this season. He entered the night with one point in 23 games.

"It was fun to help out on the scoresheet," Jackman said. "I don't get to do that too often."

Anaheim played without its top goal-scorer, Corey Perry, for the final 50-plus minutes. Perry left with a lower-body injury 9:37 into the game after a hip check by Minnesota defenseman Keith Ballard along the right wall. Perry had to be helped off the ice and didn't return.

Boudreau said he did not believe Perry's injury was serious and the team would know more on Saturday. Perry will accompany the team for a game Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets.

Andersen was shaky throughout, but made nine of his 20 saves in the third period for his 13th win.

Minnesota may have issues in goal. Kuemper was pulled following Beleskey's goal and has failed to finish three of his past four starts at home. He allowed five goals on 18 shots Friday and has given up 11 goals on 30 shots in the three games in which he was pulled.

"We'll have to discuss [how comfortable the team is with Kuemper]," Yeo said. "Obviously, we have to make sure we're strong there. We'll evaluate that carefully.

"We can't give up five goals for sure. We gave up some Grade A chances that when we're on our game, we're not doing. But I'm pretty certain we limited them to under 10 scoring chances in the game tonight. Bottom line is, if we score four goals, we should win."

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