Ducks Hang on to Defeat Minnesota

The wins keep coming for the Ducks.  Some have been come from behind.  Some have been dominant games.  The one against Minnesota on Friday night was hang on by a thread.

It matters not how they were won, but that they were won at all and Anaheim's 15-3-1 record is the second best in the NHL behind only Chicago (who appears incapable of losing in regulation ever this season).

"I think the biggest thing is the team confidence," said Teemu Selanne, who scored goal #669 of his career.  "It doesn't matter if we're down two goals or you're up 3-0, we know we're going to win the game. You don't have to change much, you don't have to really panic or anything. Just stay with the plan."

At least the plan seems to be "score first" rather than "let the other guy score and then catch up."  The Ducks tried the latter plan for six games, with much success, but they are finding the former plan just as rewarding. 

"Now you want me to explain those?" Ryan Getzlaf joked with the media. "Before I had to explain the slow starts. Nobody's ever happy. Those are obviously something we consciously talked about and having to come back in games. But at the same time, we've got to play a complete 60 minutes as well."

Getzlaf had an easy tap in from Corey Perry at 4:45 of the first period to get the scoring started.  Selanne added another goal that he has scored on in Darcy Kuemper, who got the nod in net after the Wild had played the night before.  Selanne's goal at 11:21 bumped him past Luc Robitaille on the all time list into 11th place. 

"Luc is a friend of mine," said Selanne.  "t's a big honor, obviously. The way he played, it's fun to watch. It's overwhelming. When you look at all the names, it's hard to believe it's happening. But it's fun. It's a fun journey for myself, too. Most nights I still feel good."

If he still feels good to add one more year, he can take a stab at the 700 club, which has even fewer members than the 600 club.    Heck, Ducks fans would be more than happy to see Selanne in the 800 club and top three all time.

Matt Beleskey made it 3-0 at 11:26 of the second period.  Daniel Winnik shot the puck and Kuemper thought it was under his pads.  It was not.  It was exposed and Beleskey merely had to poke it in over the line, much to Kuemper's surprise.

From there on out, the Wild continued to pour it on.  Kyle Brodziak got a weird bounce off a stanchion right to his stick.  The puck made a resounding clank off the post and in behind Jonas Hiller just :25 seconds into the third period. 

Devin Setoguchi brought the Wild within one goal at 10:37 with a perfectly placed shot to the top right corner. 

A late power play for Minnesota and an empty net to make it 6 on 4 still proved fruitless as Anaheim hung on for the win. 

Hiller made 31 saves, a performance that gave him the NHL's second star of the evening.

"We needed him tonight," said Getzlaf, appreciative of the Hiller holding down the net to help them earn two points.

The Ducks now go to Phoenix to play another back to back game.  Instead of coming home again, they can settle into the hotel a bit and remember what the playoffs feel like because they will also play the Coyotes on Monday night as well.  Then they come back home to face them again on Wednesday.      They will do the same thing with Dallas at the beginning of April. 

Those points will either help further the distance between Anaheim and their Pacific Division rivals, or tighten up the race.  You can bet that Los Angeles, Dallas and San Jose are hoping the latter.  Hope they don't bet too much.

About Karen Francis

Just a diehard Ducks fan since 1995, when the team filled the hockey shaped vacuum in my heart.