ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Kyle Palmieri celebrated his 22nd birthday in style and the Anaheim Ducks seized the game in the third quarter with two goals to take a 3-1 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild on Friday night at the Honda Center.
As he did all night, Teemu Selanne played a big role.
Selanne assisted on all three Anaheim goals, including a pinpoint pass to Palmieri for the game-winning goal at the 4:21 mark of the third period. Selanne swung behind the Minnesota goal as Palmieri approached the net on the left side, then found Palmieri's stick for the wrist shot for his second goal of the evening.
Later in the third period, Selanne tried to sneak the puck past Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom but failed, as Bobby Ryan snagged the rebound and put it in for the goal.
Minnesota got on the board first with Marco Scandella's first goal of the season off an assist from center Matt Cullen midway through the first period. Scandella smoked a wrist shot through the five hole of Anaheim goalie Viktor Fasth at the 9:54 mark, but Fasth recovered quickly and held the Wild scoreless for the duration.
Anaheim tied the game at the 6:49 mark of the second period on a goal by Palmieri, assisted by Bobby Ryan and Selanne. After Ryan got tangled up on a 3-2 charge the puck caromed to Palmieri, Palmieri dropped to a knee and slid toward the goal, gliding the puck past Niklas Backstrom for his second goal of the year.
Fasth finished with 26 saves as he won his second straight game since being called up in late-January. Backstrom finished with 28 saves but struggled late, as he denied 13 shots in the first period but relinquished the early lead.
Notes: Anaheim is in the midst of its second set of back-to-back home games this year. The Ducks have 10 such stretches in the lockout-shortened season, after having just 12 in team history prior to the season. ... Minnesota's Scandella was recalled from the Houston Aeros (AHL) on Dec. 27 as defenseman Mathew Dumba was reassigned to Red Deer (WHL). ... The two teams split last year's season series, 2-2, as the road team won every game. ... Anaheim's Corey Perry and Selanne both lead the Ducks with 27 career points against the Wild. ... Minnesota played its first game at Anaheim on Oct. 6, 2000, and lost 3-1. ... The game marked the 14th career game between brothers Saku (Anaheim) and Mikko (Minnesota) Koivu. ... Minnesota's Dany Heatley entered the game with 22 points in 23 career games against the Ducks.