(SportsNetwork.com) – The Anaheim Ducks will try to begin December with a
third consecutive victory when they visit the Minnesota Wild for Friday’s
Western Conference battle at Xcel Energy Center.
The Ducks ended November on a brief 0-2 slide, but the Pacific Division
leaders kicked off the new month with home wins over Boston and Philadelphia.
Anaheim hopes to keep heading in the right direction tonight, when it begins a
road-heavy portion of its schedule. The Ducks are playing two straight and
seven of their next eight as the guest, beginning with Friday’s tilt in St.
The Ducks, who are tied with Vancouver for the division lead, have a 7-3-2
road record this season but have lost three of their four away from Orange
After edging the Bruins 3-2 in regulation on Monday, the Ducks were pushed to
the shootout phase by Philadelphia. Jakob Silfverberg and Corey Perry scored
in the tiebreaker to lift Anaheim to the 5-4 win.
Anaheim rallied from 3-1 down to eventually grab a 4-3 edge on Patrick
Maroon’s goal with 5:02 left in regulation. However, the Flyers would answer
back as Wayne Simmonds scored with 1.8 seconds left in the third to even the
score and send the game to overtime.
Maroon and Ryan Getzlaf each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who have
won five of their last seven games. Frederik Andersen made 31 saves before
stopping two of Philadelphia’s three shooters in the tiebreaker.
The Flyers held their biggest lead after R.J. Umberger scored to make it 3-1
at 10:47 of the second period. Getzlaf, however, would tally just 28 seconds
later to make it a one-goal game again.
“We weren’t happy with the 3-1 deficit, but we thought we were in it,” said
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau. “It was a good thing Getzlaf scored quickly
after they made it 3-1 so we didn’t get a chance to get down any further.”
Andersen could get the start in net. His only career appearance against the
Wild came on Oct. 17, when Andersen stopped 27-of-28 shots to help Anaheim
record a 2-1 regulation win on home ice.
The Ducks have won seven of the last eight meetings in this series and
Minnesota has lost four straight encounters as the host.
The Wild won in their last trip to the ice despite playing without top
defenseman Ryan Suter, who is the latest Minnesota player to contract the
Suter had played in every game since joining the Wild as a free agent in the
summer of 2012, but had to sit out Wednesday’s 2-1 home win over Montreal due
to illness. The workhorse defenseman joins Keith Ballard, Jonas Brodin,
Christian Folin and Marco Scandella as Minnesota players who have missed time
this season due to the mumps.
Sutter, who leads the NHL with over 29 minutes of ice time per contest, is
questionable for tonight.
Minnesota is on a three-game point streak (2-0-1) after edging the visiting
Canadiens on Wednesday. Darcy Kuemper stopped 18 shots and Jason Pominville
scored the game winner in the second period to help the Wild pick up the close
Jason Zucker also provided a first-period tally for the Wild, who have won
three of their last five.
Minnesota’s season-long struggles on the power play continued Wednesday, as
the team won despite going 0-for-5 with the man advantage. The Wild are ranked
29th in the league in power-play efficiency, and the home crowd let the club
hear it on Wednesday.
“It doesn’t matter. We beat arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference,”
said a defiant Wild forward Zach Parise when asked what he thought of the home
fans booing the ineffective power play. “You want us to score four power-play
goals and lose?”
Kuemper could start again tonight and is 1-2-0 with a 2.38 GAA in his career
The Wild are playing the third part of a four-game homestand tonight and will
close the residency Tuesday against the New York Islanders. Minnesota is 8-2-1
as the home team this season.