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Wild try to cool off Ducks

by John Kreiser

WILD (10-7-2) at DUCKS (14-3-1)

TV: FS-North, FS-Wisconsin; FS-West

Last 10: Minnesota 6-3-1; Anaheim 8-2-0

Season series: Minnesota is making its second and final visit to Anaheim. The Ducks beat the Wild 3-1 four weeks ago. The Ducks visit the Xcel Energy Center on March 12.

Big story: Two teams that missed the playoffs last spring enter March in the top eight in the Western Conference and are coming off victories. Minnesota held on for a 4-3 victory at Phoenix on Thursday, while the Ducks had a day off after beating Nashville 5-1 at home on Wednesday.

Team Scope:

Wild: It's been a tough season for two-time 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley -- or it was until Thursday, when he scored his sixth and seventh of the season to help the Wild beat the Coyotes.

Heatley had scored just once in 13 games after getting four goals in his first five.

"I think whenever I score everyone thinks it's a good game, and if don't they think it's not as good game," he said. "We understand the situation that it's going to be a grind and a one-goal game every night no matter what. We had a pretty big lead tonight and still made it a one-goal game. But we're used to it and we're ready for it."

Ducks: There was no game Thursday, but Honda Center was still filled -- this time with 13,000 students who attended an open practice that included a skills competition.

The Ducks showed plenty of skill the night before when they blasted a weary Nashville team to bounce back after a 5-2 loss at Los Angeles on Monday. It was a special night for 22-year-old Kyle Palmieri, who had a natural hat trick -- with all three goals set up by linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

The Smithtown, N.Y., native said his parents stayed up late to watch the Ducks' seventh straight home victory.

"Being from the East Coast, a couple people might have been sleeping while the game was going," he said Thursday, "but this morning and last night I got plenty of texts and plenty of calls. It was definitely fun for me, and my family was watching back East, so I know they enjoyed it."

Who's hot: Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom is 5-1-1 in his last seven games. … Getzlaf has 11 points during a four-game scoring streak, and Perry has 11 in his six-game streak. First-year goaltender Viktor Fasth is 9-1-0 in his first 10 NHL decisions.

Injury report: Minnesota is without forward Cal Clutterbuck (thigh). … The Ducks report no injuries.

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