Wild-Ducks Preview

The Associated Press

The Anaheim Ducks have risen to the top of the Pacific Division largely due to the stellar play of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

An outstanding home record has played a role, too, and that may not bode well for a Minnesota Wild team that has struggled on the road lately.

Anaheim seeks a fourth straight victory Wednesday night and sixth in a row over Minnesota, which begins a stretch playing seven of eight away from home.

The Ducks (21-7-5) earned solid road victories over Chicago and St. Louis on Friday and Saturday, respectively, before improving to 11-0-2 at home with Monday's 5-2 win over the New York Islanders.

Anaheim, the only team without a regulation loss at home, struggled early after facing two of the Western Conference's best clubs. Perry had two goals and scored for a career-high sixth straight contest, which matches the longest streak in the NHL this season.

"We're only human, and we knew last week was a big emotional week for us," Perry said. "Those were big games for us, but we had to get ourselves up for this one, as well."

Getzlaf had an assist to extend his point streak to 14, totaling 10 goals and 11 assists. His streak is officially 12 according to the NHL - one shy of the Blues' Alexander Steen for longest in the league this season - because Getzlaf missed three games Nov. 10-14 due to injury.

Perry scored a power-play goal for the third time in four games, and the Ducks have at least one in seven of eight. They converted just 10.8 percent of their power plays through their first 21 games but have been successful on 30.6 percent in the last 12.

"At the start of the year, we were so focused on getting off to a good start. We weren't really practicing our special teams much," said Getzlaf, who has eight power-play points during his 14-game streak. "We did a great job focusing in on those and understanding that in order to be successful long-term, you need to get those at their best."

Getzlaf and Perry assisted on Nick Bonino's power-play goal in a 4-3 overtime win at Minnesota on Oct. 5 in the teams' only meeting this season.

Wild points leader Zach Parise scored twice in that contest and also had two goals in Sunday's 3-1 home win over San Jose. Minnesota (18-9-5) picked up its third victory in four tries despite recording a season-low 13 shots.

"It was a hard game," Parise said. "We were able to hang on and win, so that's important for us."

The Wild, though, have lost three straight away from home while getting held to two goals. They're among the league's lowest-scoring teams on the road at 1.86 per game while posting a 5-6-3 record. They visit San Jose and Colorado before returning home Tuesday to face Vancouver, then road dates with Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers, Philadelphia and Winnipeg follow.

"We're a team that's going to go out and play responsible, take care of our own end, and capitalize on our opportunities," forward Matt Cooke said. "That should suit us well heading on the road."

Josh Harding made 37 saves Sunday and ranks among the league leaders with a 1.50 goals-against average, including 1.86 in 10 road games.

It's unclear if Harding or Niklas Backstrom will start against Anaheim, which could counter with Jonas Hiller.

Hiller made 30 saves to beat Backstrom in the first meeting and has won his last four starts against Minnesota with a 1.71 GAA.

Anaheim's five-game win streak over the Wild includes four one-goal victories and is the longest in series history.

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