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Josh Harding makes 37 saves in season debut as Wild beat Ducks 2-0

NHL.com @NHL

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Brian Rolston and Mark Parrish scored second-period goals and Josh Harding posted his third career shutout with a career-high 37 saves Sunday night, leading the unbeaten Minnesota Wild to a testy 2-0 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks and spoiling goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere's season debut.

Minnesota's 5-0 start leaves the Wild as the NHL's only team without a loss, and puts them one victory away from matching last season's squad for the franchise's best winning streak from the start of a season. Three of the wins have been shutouts.

Giguere, who recorded a franchise-record 36 victories last season and 13 more in the playoffs, faced 24 shots. He sat out the first six games after undergoing surgery on Aug. 6 for a sports hernia.

Giguere's anticipated duel with Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom did not take place, however. Backstrom, who had a league-leading 1.97 goals-against average and .929 save percentage last season as a rookie, got the night off after allowing just four goals in Minnesota's first four games and posting shutouts against Chicago and Edmonton.

Rolston scored on Minnesota's first shot of the second period, slapping the puck over Giguere's glove from the top of the right circle at the 2:04 mark. Parrish made it 2-0 at 11:50 of the period.

The Ducks (2-4-1) vanquished Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs last season en route to their first Stanley Cup title. During the pre-game stake leading up to the Game 5 clincher at Anaheim, Ducks enforcer George Parros scuffled with Minnesota counterpart Derek Boogaard after Boogaard skated past Chris Pronger at centre ice and allegedly elbowed him in the back of the shoulder.

In Game 4 of that series, Minnesota defenceman Kim Johnsson suffered a head injury when Brad May sucker-punched him during a skirmish between two other players during the final two minutes. May received a match penalty and a subsequent three-game suspension.

Boogaard and Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire refused to shake hands with the Ducks at the end of the series, and the bad blood spilled over into the first of four scheduled meetings between the teams this season.

Boogaard and May squared off at 14:18 of the opening period right after a faceoff, and Nick Schultz took on Ducks playoff hero Ryan Getzlaf just 70 seconds later. The main event came at 5:36 of the second between Boogaard and Parros, who won on a TKO.

Just seconds before that brawl, Boogaard knocked down Giguere as he went out to cut down the angle on Stephane Veilleux - whose point-blank wrist shot struck Ducks forward Mark Mowers as he was skating across the crease behind his goalie.

Notes: Both times Minnesota made the playoffs, they were eliminated by Anaheim. In 2003, Giguere shut them out in the first three games of the Western Conference final and giving up one goal in the Game 4 clincher. ... Bertuzzi missed the final two periods because of an undisclosed injury. ... The Ducks were 0-for-8 on the power play, and are 1-for-23 over their last four games.

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