Ducks stun Wild in OT
ST. PAUL — Desperation and embarrassment made for entertaining hockey Saturday, as the Anaheim Ducks overcame the their opening-night flop and soothed their bruised egos with a much-needed win.
Two nights after a humiliating 6-1 loss in Colorado, Mathieu Perreault scored in the final seconds of overtime as the Ducks survived a scare and earned a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
“This is a team that was third overall last year and they didn’t like getting criticized and ridiculed for what happened in the last game,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Any headline you read was about how bad we were, so the pride took over a little bit. It was a big factor in the game, and why were there at the end, because they out-played us.”
Saku Koivu, Nick Bonino and Jakob Silfverberg also scored for the Ducks (1-1-0), who got 30 saves from Jonas Hiller to bounce back from the lopsided Colorado loss.
Zach Parise had a pair of goals and Jason Pominville scored his first of the season for the Wild (0-0-2), who twice rallied from a two-goal deficit but are still looking for their first win.
“Good to battle back and get a point, but yeah, we’re not real happy with this one,” said Wild coach Mike Yeo, after his team allowed goals early in the first and second periods.
The Ducks needed less than two minutes and one shot to take their first lead of the season. Francois Beauchemin’s shot from the blue line was re-directed by Saku Koivu and sailed over Niklas Backstrom’s right shoulder before the goalie could react. Bonino doubled the Anaheim lead a short time later, swatting a rebound past Backstrom during a Ducks power play.
“Nobody in that locker room was happy with the way we lost in the season opener,” Beauchemin said.
He finished off a frantic final minute of overtime by chipping a pass to Perreault, who got in on Backstrom alone and chipped the puck in.
The other Koivu brother got in on the act for Minnesota, which answered in the first period on a power play of its own. Mikko Koivu fed Parise from behind the net and Parise snapped a quick shot past Hiller. Early in the second period Silfverberg re-established a two-goal lead for the Ducks, but Minnesota answered on a Pominville power-play goal, cutting the Ducks lead to 3-2.
Parise’s second goal of the night, and season, tied it early in the third when he got free in front of the Anaheim net after a long pass from Keith Ballard, who took little solace in the point his team earned.
“The start just killed us,” Ballard said. “I’m not ready to get frustrated. It’s a long year. There are a few imperfections in our game right now. I just think the start wasn’t there.”
Backstrom finished with 26 saves for the Wild, who outshot Anaheim 17-8 in the second period.