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Wild Warmup: Minnesota at Anaheim

Wild aims for winning road trip when it takes on the Ducks Sunday at the Honda Center

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com
The essentials

Who: Minnesota Wild (34-27-7) at Anaheim Ducks (28-32-8)

Puck drop: 8:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports App

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild, @mnwildscribe; GameCenter


The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- With its six-game road winning streak snapped, the Wild will try and secure a winning road trip and keep pace in the Western Conference standings when it faces the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday at the Honda Center.

Minnesota lost 7-3 to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, the Wild's first defeat away from Xcel Energy Center since mid-January. 

The Wild had chances to win the game. After tying the score at 1-1 early in the second period, Minnesota received a power play with an opportunity to seize control.

Video: Locker room postgame at Los Angeles

Instead, the Kings scored a shorthanded goal, then scored again 53 seconds later. 

"Shorthanded goals are something you never want to give up," said Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon. "Unfortunately they got a quick one right after as well. I think we did a good job after that of trying to fight back, but ... they were playing a pretty defensive game and it was tough to get through."

Even after Dustin Brown scored to make it 4-1 moments into the third , Spurgeon and Luke Kunin tallied consecutive goals to get Minnesota within one with more than four minutes remaining on the clock. 

But Brown scored his second of the night with 2:13 remaining, then scored an empty-net goal to finish off the hat trick 59 seconds later as the Kings put the game away. 

The loss, combined with other action around the League on Friday night and on Saturday, has the Wild one point behind the Vancouver Canucks and Nashville Predators for the two wild card positions in the Western Conference. Minnesota is tied with Winnipeg at 75 points and is one ahead of the Arizona Coyotes and has one game in hand on each of those two clubs. 

"It's nuts how close it is right now and every game means so much," Spurgeon said. "It seems like if you lose one, you're down four spots. That's why we just gotta keep trying to win as many as possible, put them together. We can't dwell on this, we have a big game [Sunday] to get right back on a winning streak and to hopefully pop back over those teams that passed us [Saturday]."

Video: Evason postgame at Los Angeles

But as has been the case this entire road trip, the Wild is catching a team that is playing better than its record might indicate.

After ending San Jose's three-game winning streak, the Wild played the Kings, who were riding a four-game winning trend. Anaheim has won each of its past two games, defeating Colorado and Toronto in the process. 

The Ducks are in the midst of a four-game homestand and in the midst of a stretch where they play seven of eight at Honda Center (the lone road game of that span is across town at Staples Center).

Veterans Ryan Getzlaf and Adam Henrique are the only two Ducks with at least 40 points this season, with Anaheim's captain, Getzlaf, leading the way with 28 assists and 41 points. Henrique has a team-best 25 goals. 

Getzlaf, Henrique, Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg have accounted for nearly 40 percent of Anaheim's total goal scoring this season. Only the Kings and Detroit Red Wings have scored fewer than the Ducks' 176 goals.

Goaltender John Gibson has started 51 games this season, posting a 20-26-5 record to go with a 3.00 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage. He made 26 saves in the win against the Maple Leafs on Friday before departing with an injury in the third period. 

Ryan Miller entered and made four saves to finish off the game. Gibson's status ahead of the game has not been determined. The 39-year-old Miller is 8-6-3 in 21 games this season (17 starts), with a 3.07 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.


Related:

Postgame Hat Trick: Kings 7, Wild 3

Video: MIN Recap: Foligno, Kunin score in defeat

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