Wild 2, Ducks 1, OT

The Minnesota Wild acknowledged they were fortunate. The Anaheim

Ducks felt they deserved two points instead of one.

While Anaheim dominated much of the second period and all the

third on Wednesday night, Minnesota secured a 2-1 victory behind

the strong goaltending of Niklas Backstrom and a game-winning goal

that bounced off of Antti Miettinen’s shoulder at 3:36 of

overtime.

As a result, a Ducks team that outshot Minnesota 16-2 in the

third period secured only one point. Minnesota coach Todd Richards

said that his team didn’t play well in the final period of

regulation.

”We’re staying in games, but we can’t be too fooled by

ourselves either,” Richards said. ”We’re finding ways to win,

you’ve got to give the guys credit for that. But we have to be

better. We have to be more consistent in our play.”

That poor third period, however, was erased with one strong rush

up the ice.

Rookie defenseman Marco Scandella and Miettinen made insured

that the Wild won for the fifth time in their past seven games.

Scandella carried the puck up the right side of the ice and shot

the puck on Anaheim’s Curtis McElhinney, who made an initial

save.

The rebound bounced to Miettinen, who had his first shot knocked

away by McElhinney’s blocker. The puck then bounced off of

Miettinen’s shoulder and into the back of the net. The play was

reviewed, but Miettinen’s first career overtime goal stood because

it was ruled that he didn’t attempt to knock the puck in the net

with his body.

”I was pretty sure they were going to allow it right away

because I was just skating pretty fast that way,” said Miettinen,

who recently missed five games with a concussion. ”So that was the

motion that put the puck in, not anything else.”

McElhinney, playing for only the second time in Anaheim’s past

nine games, gave credit to Miettinen for charging hard at the

net.

”It was a tough (initial) rebound to steer away and come up

with the second save,” he said. ”But the guy who got it did a

good job driving to the net. It was a nice play on their

part.”

The loss continued a streak of close losses on this road trip

for the Ducks. On Sunday, Anaheim lost in overtime at Chicago

before giving up a third-period goal in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss at

Dallas.

”We were a little frustrated that we didn’t get the extra point

from the standpoint we were pretty good in the third period,”

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.

But so was Backstrom, who stopped 27 Anaheim shots.

”We relied a lot on Nik, he made some great saves,” Richards

said. ”You’ve got to give Anaheim some credit. They were pushing

hard in the third period.”

Along with recording his first NHL point on the game-winner,

Scandella is making it difficult for the Wild to send him back to

the minors. When Brent Burns returns from his two-game suspension

on Friday, the Wild will have eight defensemen on the roster – one

more than they would typically carry.

”He’s going to be a really good defenseman in this league,”

Backstrom said of Scandella. ”It’s fun to see guys come in here

when they get a chance and then play well and help us. He’s doing

the simple things out there. He’s not trying to do too much and

he’s strong with the puck. His game is very solid.”

On the rush up the ice that won the game, Scandella was simply

happy to be on the ice in that situation.

”I was in the moment,” said Scandella, who played more than 21

minutes against the Ducks. ”I just try to keep it simple and get

it to the forwards to do what they do best. You never know what

happens, you just try to get it to the net.”

After a scoreless first period, Selenne’s power-play goal at

4:56 of the second gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead. Corey Perry made a

quick pass across the slot that Selenne was able to knock in before

Backstrom could slide to the other side of the net.

Havlat tied the game at 1 less than two minutes later. While

below the goal line, Havlat backhanded the puck at the net. The

puck sneaked between the post and McElhinney’s skate for Havlat’s

second goal of the season and his eighth point in the past seven

games.

NOTES: Cal Clutterbuck, Minnesota’s leading scorer, returned to

action after leaving Sunday’s victory at Tampa Bay early with an

upper body injury. … Brothers Sako and Mikko Koivu played against

each other for the eighth time in their careers. … In his past

five home games, Backstrom is 4-1-0 with a 0.99 goals against

average.