Anaheim received a power play only thirty seconds into the game. After a great opening shift by Minnesota, Nino Niederreiter held onto Josh Manson for a split second while still in the offensive zone. It’s clear that the Wild had watched some Nick Ritchie tape before the game. Corey Perry made some dirty dangles in front of Dubnyk and slid the puck past his pad. Henrique and Lindholm picked up the assists. 1-0 Ducks.
Hampus Lindholm took a high sticking penalty less than two minutes after Perry’s tally. Lindholm somehow avoided a double minor even though he drew blood from Charlie Coyle’s chin. Luckily, the Wild were unable to take advantage.
Nate Prosser and J.T. Brown squared off in a quick fight after the Minnesota defenseman interfered with an unsuspecting Antoine Vermette. Brown took exception to the hit and dropped the gloves for his teammate. The following Ducks penalty was unsuccessful. With Ryan Kesler out of the lineup, Randy Carlyle elected to move Hampus Lindholm to the first unit and Rickard Rakell to the second.
After a nasty defensive zone sequence and a handful of turnovers, Mikko Koivu intercepted a Brandon Montour pass at the Anaheim blue line. He threw the puck toward the crease, and the puck looked to have deflected off a skate past John Gibson. 1-1 at 15:36.
Bieksa had a golden opportunity that even Goldmember would approve of. Right after the broadcast crew somehow praised his anticipation on the PK as he skated a puck into the corner and turned it over, Adam Henrique found him in clear ice in the offensive zone. Kevin Bieksa had Devin Dubnyk beat, but the “defender” shot the puck right into the defender’s legs. At least it looked good.
The score was 1-1 at the end of one with shots 10-9 in favor of Minnesota.
It happened again. Another turnover in the defensive zone cost the Ducks a goal. A puck spit out of the corner toward the blue line, but somehow Nick Ritchie wasn’t able to control the dribbling puck. Nate Prosser immediately picked up the puck and sent it toward the net where Jason Zucker tipped it down through Gibson’s legs. This was almost a carbon copy of the first goal against. Makes you wonder if a puck through the middle of the defensive ice isn’t a play you should keep going to. I’m looking at you, coaches. 2-1 Wild at 7:56 in the period.
Fowler was flying in the middle frame. Whenever he had the puck on his stick in the offensive zone he was using his feet to find the soft spots in the ice. Fowler flew by the Wild forwards to get open opportunities on Dubnyk. If there was one kind of player the Ducks could pursue at the trade deadline, it would be someone to play with Fowler. A steady defenseman would be ideal because it doesn’t look like either Bieksa or Montour are that guy.
The score finished at 2-1 at the end of the second period. Anaheim had 7 shots for a total of 16 while Minnesota carried the play with 14 for a total of 24. If Anaheim wanted points out of this game, they had to figure out how to get their offensive game going.
Ondrej Kase is a better hockey player than you. The Ducks third line (basically the second line at this point) held play in the offensive zone for what felt like an entire minute. The forwards were dead tired but managed to keep throwing pucks to their defensemen. Instead of deflecting a Hampus Lindholm point shot, Kase stopped it on his backhand, pulled it to his forehand, and put the puck in an open net. What a player. It could be time to start calling the third trio the Kase line. 2-2 at 6:12 in the third.
Matt Dumba almost broke the tie with only three minutes to go in regulation. The defenseman’s clapper from the point rang off the far post and sat in between Gibson’s legs. Luckily the puck was covered quickly with Wild forwards lurking near the crease.
The story of the last twenty minutes was Minnesota’s ability to block shots. The Ducks carried the play for the majority of the period, but the Wild were always in the shooting lanes. Somehow this still looked better than the patented Anaheim Turtle.
Well, that was an exciting 3v3 but no dice. Onto the shootout.
Getzlaf scored on the Ducks first attempt and Ondrej Kase kept the Ducks alive in the fourth. Gibson looked a little bored and went for the poke check multiple times. He even stacked the pads for one crucial save. It took eleven rounds, but Nick Ritchie had the shootout winner.
The Ducks secured a huge two points, which keeps them in the hunt for a playoff spot. Anaheim will be back in action Monday night in Las Vegas.