Wild snap out of scoring slump with 5-2 victory over Ducks

Preview | Box Score | Recap

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The Minnesota Wild snapped out of their scoring slump with a bang.

Brian Rolston had a goal and two assists, Aaron Voros and Brent Burns each chipped in with a goal and an assist, and the Wild downed the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 Friday night.

Minnesota scored four power-play goals in the second period to build a 5-0 lead.

“There must have been a full moon,” Rolston joked. “It was great we came through on the power play.

“It was huge for us tonight, with a team that has half the guys going on half-empty tanks.”

Voros, who scored an unassisted goal in the first period, agreed that the win was significant.

“Especially with five guys out with the flu the last couple of days,” he said. “We came up with a big team win and that is what we needed.”

Marian Gaborik and Eric Belanger also scored for Minnesota, which cashed in its first two power-play goals after a 4-minute high-sticking penalty against Chris Kunitz, then added two more after receiving a two-man advantage.

Minnesota’s Josh Harding stopped 28 shots, giving up late goals to Brad May and Todd Bertuzzi.

The Wild had scored just four times in their previous four games and lost three of them. They had scored no more than two goals in any of their past six games, and came in against the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks averaging just 2.43 goals per game to rank among the league’s weakest offenses.

Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said everything seemed to be working for the Wild.

“Tonight I don’t know why it clicked so much,” he said.

Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere gave up three goals on nine shots before Jonas Hiller replaced him at 13:15 of the second period. It was the fifth time this season that Giguere had been pulled from a game. The Wild didn’t let up, with Rolston scoring at 15:05, and Burns adding another goal at 16:10 of the period.

Hiller finished with eight saves.

The four power-play goals equaled the most the Ducks have ever allowed in a game, and the most ever in one period. It happened five other times, most recently on Jan. 2, 2002 against Detroit in a 7-4 road loss.

A few hours before the game, the Ducks announced that they had traded center Andy McDonald, a key member of their championship team, to the St. Louis Blues for center Doug Weight, Michal Birner and a seventh-round draft pick next year.

Trading McDonald, who is in the second year of a three-year, $10 million contract, frees enough money under the salary cap to allow Anaheim to activate defenseman Scott Niedermayer. Niedermayer decided to return after missing the first part of the season while pondering whether to retire.

When the Ducks host San Jose on Sunday, Weight is expected to play and Niedermayer likely will make his season debut.

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said after the lopsided loss that the trade may have been a bit of a distraction, but “I wouldn’t consider that the sole reason behind the outcome. We lacked emotion and we lacked intensity, and I didn’t think we got the goaltending that was necessary to have success.”

He said, “I think that obviously has some sort of effect on your emotions when you lose a teammate. The first day’s usually the toughest one.”

Anaheim’s Todd Marchant, a former teammate of Weight’s in Edmonton, said the trade wasn’t discussed much in the locker room.

“We all knew what had transpired this afternoon. Our focus was on Minnesota at the time, but obviously, somewhere between that point and now, we lost that focus and as a result we lost a 5-2 game at home and have nothing to show for it,” Marchant said.

He added, “Hopefully, Dougie can come here and be the player I know he’s capable of being.”

Notes

The last time the teams met, on Oct. 14, Harding made a career-high 37 saves in a 2-0 victory to become the first goalie to record three shutouts in his first eight NHL starts since Toronto’s Ed Chadwick in 1956. … Minnesota concludes its five-game road trip Saturday night at Los Angeles. … McDonald will not get to face his ex-teammates until Feb. 1, when the Blues host Anaheim.

Related Articles

Three Stars

  Three Stars
J. Harding
J. Harding
Wild - G
Saves: 28
Save Pct.: .933
B. Rolston
B. Rolston
Wild - RW
Goals: 1
Assists: 2
T. Moen
T. Moen
Ducks - LW
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Josh Harding Min 30 28
Jean-Sebastien Giguere Col 9 6

Scoreboard

Friday, Dec 14