The Ducks did it again – another win at home, this time a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Anaheim remains unbeaten in regulation with a 12-0-2 record, a franchise best.
The Wild did not make it easy and goaltender, Josh Harding, lived up to his stingy billing. Harding leads the NHL with a 1.52 goals against average. Letting in two was more than most teams get.
The Ducks had lots of good scoring chances, but Harding made 29 saves, and made them look easy. Point blank shots that would have gone past a lesser goalie did not make it past Harding, because the game could have ended with another trip to Hooters for free wings.
Anaheim did persevere, despite being turned away at every opportunity. Finally defenseman Alex Grant made it past Harding at 2:37 of the second period.
"He was cheating a little to the pass," said Grant. " I saw that and threw it on net."
Grant now has the remarkable distinction of scoring his second NHL goal in his second NHL game on his second shot on goal. As someone commented, you might as well retire now, because it is only going to go downhill from here.
The reward for Grant, who was called up due to Mark Fistric's injury, was to be sent back to Norfolk.
"We want Grant to feel like, ‘Hey, I did good up there. I showed them I can play, so the next time you need me, give me a call," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "He’ll go down there and work hard. He’ll come back at some point and do the same thing for us."
Once the Ducks knew that yes, you could get something past Harding, they kept on pushing.
Corey Perry made it 2-0 at 13:27 with an assist from Hampus Lindholm. It was the least Lindholm could do, considering how he accidentally creamed Perry three minutes prior. Fortunately Perry recovered quickly and went back out on the ice on his next shift to keep his goal scoring streak going at seven games.
Whether it is on his knees, a straight shot into the net or batting it out of the air, like this one was, Perry knows how to score.
"That's what you've got to do," said Perry. "You look at a lot of the goals in the league where they're scored…I just try to go there and be a big body around the net. Things are happening."
Ryan Getzlaf's assist on the goal also extended his point scoring streak to 13 games. Were it not for three games out of the line up with an injury, it would be a 15 game streak.
Minnesota ended Jonas Hiller's shut out bid with a power play goal at 3:48 of the third period. Jason Pominville got his own rebound to put it behind Hiller, who made 23 saves in the game.
None of the saves was more spectacular than the one made on Charlie Coyle, who had a breakaway opportunity midway through the third. Instead of a tie game, the Ducks were able to get the win and the Wild are now 1-5 in their last six road games.
"Other than their power-play goal, I didn’t think Saku [Koivu’s] line gave too much away," said Boudreau. "I think they only had three chances according to the stats after two periods, which is a pretty good defensive battle by us."
Anaheim now has three days of rest and practice before taking on the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday afternoon. By then, Jakob Silfverberg, Mathieu Perreault and Francois Beauchemin may be ready to be reinserted back in the line up after missing games due to a myriad of injuries.