The Minnesota Wild woke up in the second period to erase a three-goal deficit, but surrendered the final two goals of the game for a 5-4 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Friday at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Ducks jumped on the Wild early and dominated the first period in just about every aspect of the game. The Wild were unable sustain any offensive pressure and had way too many one-and-done rushes. The Ducks defensemen were pinching sometimes even before the red line forcing the Wild to give up the puck before they wanted to.
“It was a combination of that and us not being crisp,” Zach Parise said about having trouble getting into the offensive zone. “We were sloppy. We were standing around. We weren’t moving.”
Ryan Kesler scored early in each of the first two periods and Jakob Silfverberg added a goal midway through the first period to take the three goal. Kesler’s first goal came on a breakaway after beating Nino Niederreiter up the ice one minute and 31 seconds into the game. Then in the second period, he fired a shot past Darcy Kuemper off a 2-on-1 rush two minutes and 28 seconds into the second period.
“You can’t start out flat like that and give those guys three goal leads,” Parise said. “We played a pretty decent game after we spotted them that lead. Fall behind 3-0 to any team in this league, it’s tough.”
The Wild (14-10-1) got back in the game by scoring a pair of power play goals 11 seconds apart. After Ryan Getzlaf put the puck out of play for a delay of game penalty, Kesler hit Parise in the face with his stick to give the Wild a two-man advantage for nearly a minute and a half.
Mikko Koivu started the rally by banking a backdoor pass toward Jason Pominville off a Ducks defender and into the net with the two-man advantage. Off the ensuing face-off, Parise went streaking down the left side and beat Frederik Andersen with a wrist shot.
Jonas Brodin eventually tied the game with two minutes and 11 seconds remaining in the second period. He created a shooting lane at the point by moving around the Ducks defender and fired a wrist through traffic and over Andersen’s glove arm.
“We pressured their (defensemen) a little more,” Parise said on the second period turn around. “We forced them into mistakes. That was the biggest difference.”
Justin Fontaine gave the Wild their only lead of the game with a snapshot off a rush shortly after getting out of the penalty box two minutes and seven seconds into the third period. Fontaine was serving a too many men penalty and had a little jump in his step out of the box.
The Ducks (17-6-5) got the last run of the game with two unanswered goals. Minnesota native Tim Jackman scored his second goal of the season 90 seconds after Fontaine scored to tie the game. Four minutes and 51 seconds later Matt Beleskey gave the Ducks the lead for good.
Kuemper allowed five goals on 18 shots and was pulled for the third time in 19 this season. Niklas Backstrom stopped all three shots he stopped in relief.
The Wild return to action Tuesday against the New York Islanders at the Xcel Energy Center.
No. 3 – Jonas Brodin. The Wild defenseman had a goal and an assist.
No. 2 – Matt Beleskey. The Ducks forward scored the game-winning goal.
No. 1 – Ryan Kessler. The Ducks forward recorded two goals and an assist.
Anaheim…..…2 1 2 – 5
Minnesota……0 3 1 – 4
First Period – 1, Anaheim, Kesler 7 (Palmieri, Fowler), 1:31. 2, Anaheim, Silfverberg 2 (Cogliano, Smith-Pelly), 11:44. Penalties – Zucker, MIN (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:26; Thompson, ANA, major (fighting), 11:28; Ballard, MIN, major (fighting), 11:28; Manson, ANA (cross checking), 12:10.
Second Period – 3, Anaheim, Kesler 8 (Lindholm, Jackman), 2:28. 4, Minnesota, Koivu 4 (Granlund, Scandella) 4:59 (pp). 5, Minnesota, Parise 10 (Granlund, Brodin), 5:10 (pp). 6, Minnesota, Brodin 1 (Pominville, Parise), 17:49. Penalties – Getzlaf, ANA (delay of game-puck over glass), 3:57; Kesler, ANA (high sticking), 4:25; Parise, MIN (holding), 15:31; Manson, ANA (hooking), 18:47; Bench, MIN (too many men; served by Fontaine).
Third Period – 7, Minnesota, Fontaine 2 (Brodziak, Prosser), 2:07. 8, Anaheim, Jackman 2 (Kesler), 3:37. 9, Anaheim, Beleskey 13 (Getzlaf, Palmieri), 8:28. Penalties – Parise, MIN (tripping), 19:19.
Shots on goal – Anaheim 7-8-6 21. Minnesota 4-11-10 25.
Goalies – Anaheim, Andersen (21-25). Minnesota, Kuemper (13-18), Backstrom (3-3). Referees – Rob Martelli, Chris Rooney. Linesmen – Andy McElman, Steve Barton.