After posting back-to-back overtime losses last weekend, the Minnesota Wild took little solace in the fact that they picked up a point in each game. An overtime loss feels like any other loss, at least when that final goal light turns on. But a week later, those points look a lot better when they start a streak of four straight games in which the Wild has picked up at least a point. The Wild is now 2-0-2 in its last four games, and is breathing down the necks of a host of Western Conference teams, including the Anaheim Ducks who stand in the way of a stellar road trip.
The Wild got to remember the feeling of leaving the ice after an overtime win last night when Brent Burns cracked a one-timer past Jonathan Quick to beat the Los Angeles Kings, 3-2. Burns’ tally came after the Wild received regulation goals from Mikko Koivu and Cal Clutterbuck and withstood nine Kings power plays to come away with the victory. Jose Theodore was stellar in stopping 24 shots, including several game-savers in the third period and overtime.
The Ducks are coming off a 3-2 shootout victory over the Calgary Flames on Friday, marking their third straight game that was decided in a shootout. Lubomir Visnovsky and Dan Sexton accounted for the regulation goals before Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry came up big in the shootout. Jonas Hiller earned the win in a 37-save effort.
Wild at Ducks will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North at 7:00 PM. The game can be heard on WCCO 830 AM, or online at Wild.com.
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Everyone that shows up at tonight’s game will receive a free Ducks T-shirt. They make for great kindling for your open fire to roast chestnuts.
The key to beating the Ducks is shutting down Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf…and Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan. Oh, and Saku Koivu. There is all kinds of firepower on the Anaheim frontlines, and the Wild did an outstanding job of keeping under wraps in the first meeting between these two teams.
After pumping in the game-winner last night, Burns moved into a tie for the team lead in goals with eight, and a tie for second in the NHL among defenseman. Burns now has a tally in consecutive games, and is already half way to his career high of 15 goals which stands as the franchise record. His goal last night established another team mark as he became the first Wild player to score five overtime goals.
A win tonight gives the Wild one of its most successful road trips in recent memory. With two wins and an overtime loss, Minnesota could return home tonight with seven of eight points, making this one of the most productive extended road trips in team history. The last time the Wild came away with seven points after a four-game road trip was in October of 2007 when the club went 3-0-1 against Phoenix, Anaheim, Los Angeles and St. Louis.
Warren Peters made his Wild debut last night, but with the Wild spending an inordinate amount of time shorthanded, he didn’t even see four minutes of ice time. Wild centers Koivu and Kyle Brodziak were worked overtime, killing penalties and taking crucial draws in a tight game. Matt Cullen and John Madden are both expected to sit out again, which means Peters may be counted on for more energy with other centers running on fumes.
Following last night’s win, Richards said he expects to go with the same lineup tonight: