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Wild open three-game road trip vs. Ducks

by Jon Lane

WILD (18-9-5) at DUCKS (21-7-5)


Last 10: Minnesota 5-4-1; Anaheim 6-1-3

Season series: This is the second of three games. The Anaheim Ducks handed the Minnesota Wild a rare home loss Oct. 5 when center Mathieu Perreault scored with 4.9 seconds left in overtime to lift Anaheim to a 4-3 win.

Big story: Minnesota's victory against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday improved its record at Xcel Energy Center to 13-3-2, but the Wild will be on the road for their next three games and seven of their next eight, hoping to improve on a 5-6-3 record away from home. They are the only team in the NHL with at least 40 points and a road record below .500.

The Ducks are the only team without a regulation loss at home, where they are 11-0-2. Their 5-2 win against the New York Islanders at Honda Center on Monday was the sixth straight game in which they earned at least a point. The victory pulled Anaheim even with the Chicago Blackhawks atop the League standings with 47 points, but Chicago reclaimed the lead by beating the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

The Wild are in sixth place in the Western Conference, six points behind the second-place Ducks.

"The West is so tight that every game like this matters," Ducks center Andrew Cogliano said Tuesday. "Things are heightened because teams are so good. It's a big game for us. We want to continue winning at home."

Team Scope:

Wild: Minnesota coach Mike Yeo is calling on his team to cut down on turnovers.

"We just can't continue to turn pucks over in the neutral zone," he said Tuesday, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "We can't continue to turn pucks over on the wall and expect to No. 1 win games, but to create offense, to get to the offensive zone, to draw penalties. All these areas where we're lacking -- the shots on goal, the chances, the drawing penalties -- it's all a direct result of the neutral-zone turnovers we've had lately. It's a focus for everybody."

Yeo also wants more from his second line, which will have a different look against Anaheim. Jason Zucker was recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League. He skated with Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle at practice Tuesday.

Dany Heatley (six goals, four assists, minus-9) was demoted to the fourth line and will skate with Zenon Konopka and Justin Fontaine. He also will get some ice time on other lines, Yeo said.

Ducks: After a slow start, the Ducks scored two goals in the final 33 seconds of the second period Monday that essentially sealed the win against the slumping Islanders. The win was Anaheim's third straight, including road wins against the Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.

"We're only human, and we knew last week was a big emotional week for us," said forward Corey Perry, who scored twice. "Those were big games for us, but we had to get ourselves up for this one as well."

Who's hot: Wild forward Zach Parise scored twice Sunday. His 14 goals have him tied with Jason Pominville for the team lead. Pominville has a point in four of five games (one goal, three assists). … Perry has goals in six straight games and 20 on the season. Ryan Getzlaf is on a 12-game point streak (six goals, nine assists). The line of Dustin Penner, Getzlaf and Perry has 45 goals, the highest total among any three teammates in the League.

Injury report: Wild center Mikael Granlund (concussion) is on injured reserve … Ducks defenseman Mark Fistric (upper body) is out. Perreault (lower body) hopes to skate Wednesday, practice over the weekend and return Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers. Defensemen Sheldon Souray (wrist surgery), Francois Beauchemin (upper body) and Luca Sbisa (wrist surgery), forward Jakob Silfverberg (broken right hand) and goalie Viktor Fasth (lower body) remain on IR.

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