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Mighty Ducks-Wild Preview @NHLdotcom
Mighty Ducks-Wild Preview

GAME: Anaheim Mighty Ducks (18-15-7) at Minnesota Wild (19-18-4).

TIME: Saturday, 8 p.m. EST.

Getting a lead seems to be no problem for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Holding on to it is another story.

Anaheim looks to bounce back from a tough loss when it meets the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Ducks held a 3-0 lead after one period Friday against the Dallas Stars. But goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere gave up a second-period goal to Antti Miettinen and two more in the third to Brenden Morrow.

Giguere then gave up the game-winner to Miettinen in the shootout in a 4-3 loss. Anaheim has lost a league-high seven games this season when it has led in the first period.

"It's unacceptable," said Giguere, who finished with 27 saves in regulation and overtime. "We had a great first period, I thought, and we just let them come back in the game and we can't do that.

"We were all guilty of letting up in the game. If we want to be a contender, we can't do that."

The Ducks start play with 43 points and in ninth place in the Western Conference, four points in back of the Colorado Avalanche for the final playoff berth.

Teemu Selanne has a goal and four assists during a three-game points streak. He has six goals and eight assists in 21 career games against the Wild.

Minnesota also is in the chase for the final playoff berth, beginning play tied with the Phoenix Coyotes in 10th place, five points behind Colorado.

The Wild kicked off a franchise-record seven-game homestand with a 4-2 loss Thursday to the Avalanche.

U.S. Olympic team selection Brian Rolston had an assist for Minnesota, giving him three goals and eight assists during a seven-game points streak. Rolston, the Wild's leading scorer, has goals in each of his last three games against the Ducks.

Despite the loss to the Avalanche, Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire wasn't too discouraged.

"I think we played much better than we did in Detroit," Lemaire said, referring to a 4-2 win Tuesday over the Detroit Red Wings. "What I'm looking at is the way we played, we didn't look as a team where you could say, 'Colorado's a lot better than the Wild."'

The Wild will not play again on the road until Jan. 22 when they face the Chicago Blackhawks.

STANDINGS: Mighty Ducks - 43 points, 3rd place, 13 PB, Pacific Division. Wild - 42 points, 5th place, 12 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Mighty Ducks - Selanne, 18 goals and 33 points; Scott Niedermayer, 21 assists; Todd Fedoruk, 80 PIM. Wild - Rolston, 18 goals, 24 assists and 42 points; Derek Boogaard, 70 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Mighty Ducks - Power play: 15.3 percent (37 for 242), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.4 percent (216 for 259), 11th. Wild - Power play: 18.8 percent (42 for 224), 9th (tied). Penalty killing: 88.9 percent (200 for 225), 1st.

GOALTENDERS: Mighty Ducks - Giguere (11-6-6, 0 SO, 2.79 GAA); Ilya Bryzgalov (7-9-0, 0, 2.44). Wild - Manny Fernandez (14-5-3, 1, 2.02); Dwayne Roloson (5-13-1, 1, 2.83).


LAST MEETING: Nov. 6; Wild, 4-3 (SO). At Anaheim, Calif., Mikko Koivu scored in regulation and the shootout and Fernandez made 39 saves for Minnesota.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mighty Ducks - 5-9-4 on the road; Wild - 11-7-1 at home.

Associated Press

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