Giddy up, State of Hockey Legion!
We hope you’re all staying warm in the State of Hockey as the Wild looks for its first road win of the season against the Anaheim Water Fowl, also known as the Ducks. We know this is a late start in the central time zone, so pour yourself a hot drink and stay up with the action. The boys are primed for the ‘W’ as they got a little Vitamin D boost in sunny SoCal this afternoon on the way to the arena. As always, we’ll be live tweeting the game at @mnwildLIVE and this page will be used for brief period recaps.
Mikko Koivu will skate against older brother, Saku, for the first time on the season. Tonight marks the 14th game all-time between the bros (including Saku’s time in Montreal). In 13 career NHL contests vs. his brother, Mikko has scored 10 points (4-6=10) and the Wild has posted a 7-6-0 record vs. Saku’s teams in those meetings.
Another Finnish connection that will help the Wild in its quest for a road win is goaltender Niklas Backstrom. Last season against the Ducks, he was 1-1-0 with a .900 save percentage and a 2.51 goals against average. Backstrom is 8-5-0 with a 2.43 goal against average, a .917 save percentage and one shutout in 13 career starts against Anaheim.
Out for tonight’s game as healthy scratches are forward Matt Kassian and defenseman Nate Prosser. Defenseman Jared Spurgeon is considered day-to-day with a lower body injury, but good news, he skated at the team’s morning practice.
The Wild is fit in its road whites, while Anaheim wears its dark blue sweaters with Ducks printed across the chest.
Let’s break this thing off!
Period 1 - MIN 1, ANA 0
After a forgettable start, the Wild killed off a penalty and jumped on the board first. Marco Scandella took a pass to the point from Matt Cullen and walked to the top of the left circle. The defenseman fired a bullet wrist shot through the wickets of Ducks' netminder Viktor Fasth for his first of the year.
Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom was solid between the pipes, saving all 13 of the Ducks' shots on goal. The Wild has gotten the jet lag and time zone change out of its system. I'm guessing that they'll have a big second period. You heard it here first.
Period 2 - MIN 1, ANA 1
The Ducks came to play that period, and evened the score at one. Kyle Palmieri finished off an odd-man rush with a nice pass from Bobby Ryan to square the game. Teemu Selanne was credited with the second assist on the play.
Backstrom was again solid in net, making eight saves. A clean period, there were no power plays to report. The Wild generated more shots and scoring chances that period, but were outdone by Anaheim, 9-8.
I think the Wild was playing a little possum that 20 and expect them to pour it on in the third.
Period 3 - MIN 1, ANA 3
The Wild was unable to get the tying goal in the third period and the Ducks took advantage of a late power play to keep Minnesota winless on the road, 3-1.
On the man advantage, Selanne made a nifty backhand saucer pass to Bobby Ryan on the backdoor for a tap in goal. Ryan Getzlaf added the second assist on the play.
The Wild will get a chance for its first win on the road Monday in Phoenix as the team faces the Coyotes.