Although Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are world-class offensive talents riding long scoring streaks, they realize they’ll never measure up to unsung teammate Alex Grant and his perfect shooting percentage.
All those numbers added up to another victory for the surging Anaheim Ducks.
Perry scored a goal in his seventh straight game, Getzlaf extended his point streak to 13 games and the Ducks beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight win.
Grant scored his second career goal on his second NHL shot as the Pacific Division leaders improved to 12-0-2 at home, extending the second-longest streak without a regulation loss to open a season in the shootout era.
Jonas Hiller made 23 saves as Anaheim relied on its offensive stars and an unlikely contributor to grind out its sixth consecutive win over the Wild.
”I think everybody is doing a really good job and bearing down,” Hiller said. ”We’re playing really solid. Right now everybody is trusting each other. I trust the guys in front of me to do their job.”
With four victories in the past six days, the Ducks (22-7-5) have the NHL’s second-best record behind Chicago.
Perry extended the longest goal streak in the league this season with a second-period goal, jumping on a rebound of Hampus Lindholm’s shot off the back wall for his 21st goal. Perry matched St. Louis’ Alexander Steen for second place in the league behind goals leader Alex Ovechkin.
Getzlaf started the play and picked up an assist, extending the NHL’s longest active point streak and matching Steen’s mark for the longest in the league this season. The Anaheim captain has scored in each of his last 15 appearances since Nov. 6, but the NHL officially recognizes only 13 games because of an injury absence early in the string.
”Obviously, (Perry) is an elite talent,” Minnesota’s Jason Pominville said. ”He and Getzlaf play well together, and they make a lot of good plays, but I think we gave them a little bit too much time to make plays. If you give those guys time, they’ll make you pay.”
Josh Harding stopped 29 shots and Pominville scored his 15th goal on a power play early in the third period for the Wild, who have lost four straight on the road. Despite a strong defensive effort against an elite opponent, Minnesota opened a stretch with seven of eight on the road with another narrow loss.
After a scoreless first period, Grant scored with a sneaky-fast wrist shot that beat Harding on the short side on a 2-on-4 rush. Grant hadn’t dressed for the injury-depleted Anaheim defense since he scored a goal in his NHL debut Nov. 30, and he’s only getting a shot because the Ducks are without injured defensemen Francois Beauchemin, Luca Sbisa, Sheldon Souray and Mark Fistric.
”I’ll take it, but I definitely never imagined it,” said Grant, who spent the past four seasons in Pittsburgh’s minor league system without making the Penguins’ roster. ”I’ve done my time in the minors, quite a few games there. I just wanted to be prepared to jump in when I had an opportunity.”
Harding made a handful of stellar saves, notably lunging to stab Teemu Selanne’s shot at an otherwise open net in the second period. The 43-year-old Finnish Flash hasn’t scored a goal since Oct. 20.
Pominville ended Hiller’s shutout bid with a backhand in front, passing Zach Parise for the team lead in goals. Charlie Coyle had a clean breakaway later in the period, but Hiller stopped him cold.
”We’ve got to find a way to create more offense, especially early in the game,” Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu said. ”Hiller made that big save (on Coyle), but we have to create more than just that. Defensively, I think we’re good, but it’s tough to win with just one goal.”
NOTES: Anaheim C Saku Koivu and Mikko Koivu met in the NHL for the 18th time. Saku is 11-3-4 against his younger brother. . . . The Ducks recalled D Nolan Yonkman from the minors, but he didn’t play. . . . Minnesota assigned D Kyle Dumba to the Canadian national junior team for the world junior championships in Sweden beginning Dec. 26. The 19-year-old Dumba has two points in 13 games this season with the Wild.