ANAHEIM, Calif. – Dan Ellis let in one goal he should have stopped easily in the third period, then the Anaheim Ducks allowed two breakaways on their new goalie during the final minute of overtime. He only stopped the first one.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored on the second breakaway 4:53 into overtime, giving the Minnesota Wild a 3-2 victory on Friday night. Jose Theodore made 19 of his 46 saves in the second period, helping send the demoralized Ducks to their fifth straight loss.
“They are a really good team with really good players,” Theodore said. “But my job is to make sure that when I get in there, I’m not happy with being average. I’ve got to be good. Niklas Backstrom is playing some great hockey for us, and when he gets the day off, I have to keep going.”
The Ducks, who are one point out of a playoff spot with 20 games remaining, have dropped all seven games in which they have taken at least 40 shots on net.
“Theodore played a great game for them. He pulled some saves out of nowhere,” the Ducks’ new goalie said. “If it weren’t for Theodore, we definitely would have had this one.”
Ellis, making his Ducks debut after joining them in a trade from Tampa Bay on Thursday, missed the 55-foot slap shot by Clayton Stoner that sneaked between his pads with 4:57 left in the third period to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead.
“It was just a shot that was going right along the ice and hit something and went over my stick,” Ellis said. “I thought I had everything closed. It’s one that needs to be stopped, but it’s ice I’ve got to get used to.”
Ducks defenceman Francois Beauchemin took his new teammate off the hook temporarily when he converted a rebound of Jason Blake’s scoring attempt from the edge of the crease with two minutes left in regulation.
Ellis thwarted Cal Clutterbuck on a breakaway a little over four minutes into OT after defenceman Toni Lydman lost the puck to him at the Minnesota blue line. But the Ducks got caught up ice again, and this time Bouchard came through with his seventh goal of the season and second winner after getting the puck from Brent Burns.
“I was waiting around the red line to see if Burns saw me. Luckily I got a breakaway,” Bouchard said. “It’s fun to connect and get a goal. It’s a huge win for us. We played a pretty good game. We showed a lot of character, so it’s a big two points. We’re missing a lot of key guys in the lineup, but I think we are playing our best hockey right now. Guys are stepping up their game, and that’s what we need from everybody.”
John Madden also scored for Minnesota and Antti Miettinen had three assists. Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan notched his 100th NHL goal and Blake had two assists.
The Ducks, who didn’t have to use their penalty-killing unit at all during Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Kings, killed off two short-handed situations during the first 12 minutes. But Madden scored at 15:29 of the first, beating Ellis to the glove side at the end of a two-on-one rush with Andrew Brunette against Lydman.
“I used Madden pretty much all night against (Ryan) Getzlaf and he scored a big goal for us at the beginning,” said coach Todd Richards, whose team is tied with Los Angeles for fifth place in the Western Conference. “I thought he did a great job under tough conditions. We played last night and it really took a lot out of us, but we found a way to get a huge two points.”
Getzlaf, back in the lineup following the birth of his son on Wednesday, helped engineer the tying goal with a backhanded pass from behind the net. Theodore stopped Blake at the crease before Ryan converted the rebound at 9:02 of the second period for his 29th of the season. It came at the exact moment an interference penalty against Burns had expired.
Notes: Lydman, signed by Anaheim as a free agent on July 1, began the day tied with Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa for first place on the league’s plus-minus list at plus-26. Lydman was a plus-10 last season with Buffalo, equalling his career best. … Ellis started for only the third time this month. His last three outings with Tampa Bay all went overtime, including two victories. … Stoner’s goal was his second in 48 NHL games. … Beauchemin’s goal was his third this season and first in seven games since rejoining the Ducks in a trade from Toronto on Feb. 9. … Teemu Selanne’s assist on Beauchemin’s goal gave him 57 points in 53 games. He is trying to join Gordie Howe and Johnny Bucyk as the only players to finish a season averaging at least a point a game at age 40 or older.