Ducks rally for win, ending Wild’s season-long shutout streak
After 44 frustrating minutes of scoreless hockey against the stingy Minnesota Wild, only one thought came to Andrew Cogliano when he broke in alone on goalie Darcy Kuemper.
"Yeah, I’d better score now," the speedy Ducks forward said.
Cogliano did it, and Corey Perry did it again later in the Ducks’ dynamic third-period rally.
Cogliano ended Minnesota’s season-long shutout streak with a short-handed goal early in the third, and Perry got the tiebreaking goal with 8:25 left in the Ducks’ 2-1 victory over the Wild on Friday night.
Frederik Andersen made 27 saves in the fourth consecutive victory for the Ducks, who won their home opener by capitalizing on two late chances in a game frequently dominated by the Wild.
But Devante Smith-Pelly forced a turnover and Cam Fowler got the puck ahead to Cogliano, who buried a backhand for the first goal allowed all season by the Wild and Kuemper, who set the franchise record for consecutive scoreless minutes.
"We just caught them in a bad sequence," Cogliano said. "Their team is really tough to play against. Defensively, they don’t give you much at all. You have to exert pressure on them to get anything, and we finally did that."
Perry then put the Ducks ahead when Jason Zucker’s pass went off rookie Matt Dumba’s skate and straight to the former league goal-scoring champion, who eventually scored his fifth goal in five games on a rebound.
The Ducks hung on for their seventh win in eight meetings with Minnesota, but only after a game-ending scrum that suggested a brewing rivalry for two of the Western Conference’s top teams.
"I know (Kuemper) had some shutouts coming into this game, and we had to work hard to get pucks behind him," said Andersen, who improved to 24-5-0 in his short NHL career. "It took a while, but we eventually did it. We have a really good group, really resilient."
Zucker scored and Kuemper stopped 24 shots for the Wild, who had the last five days off after beginning the season with back-to-back shutouts of Colorado. Minnesota hadn’t missed a step in its return, but Andersen made several enormous saves in the first two periods before the Ducks beat Kuemper late.
"That short-handed goal doesn’t help," Minnesota’s Zach Parise said. "We were in pretty good control of the game until then. A couple of mistakes on our part, and that was it. I don’t think the game got away from us at all."
Kuemper played a club-record 163 minutes, 46 seconds of scoreless hockey before Cogliano’s goal, which prevented the Wild from becoming just the second team in NHL history to open a season with three consecutive shutouts.
"It’s hard to be too upset right now," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "You want to win the game, but for the most part, we were playing a great game. There empty nets and opportunities that were bouncing off our sticks. … We just need to bury those chances."
The Ducks played the West’s final home opener after going 3-1 on an impressive season-opening trip. A sellout crowd watched beneath the Ducks’ second straight Pacific Division title banner.
Clayton Stoner faced the Wild for the first time since the defenseman left Minnesota as a free agent last summer for a $13 million deal with the Ducks, but his misstep led to the Wild’s first goal.
After a scoreless first period, Zucker skated past a stumbling Stoner and scored his second goal in three games. Zucker was born in nearby Newport Beach and grew up in Las Vegas.
Late in the second period, Kuemper broke Niklas Backstrom’s franchise record of 157 minutes, 44 seconds of scoreless play.
NOTES: Recently retired ex-Ducks C Saku Koivu attended the game. His brother, Mikko, is the Wild’s captain. … Minnesota’s trip concludes Sunday at Los Angeles. The Wild’s weird schedule includes just four games in the first two weeks, followed by six games in 10 days. … Longtime Ducks enforcer George Parros also watched from a luxury suite. … Forward Chris Wagner made his NHL debut for the Ducks in place of healthy scratch Rickard Rakell. … New Ducks F Dany Heatley couldn’t play against his former Minnesota teammates while missing his fourth straight game with a groin strain. F Kyle Palmieri and D Bryan Allen also haven’t played this season due to injuries.