ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Anaheim Ducks let the sting of their season-opening loss at Colorado carry into their second game at Minnesota.
And their improved play led to their first win of the season.
Anaheim scored early in the first two periods, Jonas Hiller had 30 saves and Mathieu Perreault had the game-winning goal with 4.9 seconds left in overtime and the Ducks beat the Wild 4-3 on Saturday night.
The Ducks needed nearly three full periods to score in their season-opening 6-1 loss to the Avalanche on Wednesday night.
But they needed less than two minutes to score against the Wild, and led 2-0 before the game was 6 minutes old.
“This is a team that was third overall last year, and they didn’t like getting criticized and ridiculed for what happened the last game,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said.
“Any headline you read was about how bad we were, so the pride took over a little bit. It was a big factor in the game.”
Perreault’s game-winner came at 4:55 of overtime on a 2-on-1 break with Francois Beauchemin.
He dumped the puck to a streaking Beauchemin, who gave it right back to Perreault, and the centre flipped his shot past Niklas Backstrom to give the Ducks their first win of the season.
“Nobody in that locker room was happy with the way we lost in the season opener,” said Beauchemin, who also assisted on Saku Koivu’s first-period goal.
“We wanted to get back to the way we can play. And even though we didn’t play our best game tonight, I thought we came out pretty good.”
Backstrom finished with 26 saves, and Zach Parise scored two goals for the Wild, who went to overtime for the second straight game, but again failed to pick up a win after opening the season with a shootout loss to the L.A. Kings.
Unlike the Ducks, the Wild had felt positive about their season-opening loss—not so much on Saturday.
“Thursday night, we had a real good 55 minutes and couldn’t quite finish it off,” Keith Ballard said.
“Tonight we came out and we weren’t ready to play. We were down 2-0 to a pretty desperate hockey team and a pretty skilled hockey team. After that we played a solid game, but you have to clean this up before these things get out of hand.”
The Wild again looked good on offence, outshooting Anaheim 33-30, including a 17-8 advantage in the second period.
But similar to their loss to the Kings, their shots had a hard time finding the back of the net.
The Ducks took a 1-0 lead when Koivu redirected a pass from Beauchemin past Backstrom at the 1:40 mark.
Four minutes later, Nick Bonino added a power-play goal after picking up Corey Perry’s rebound wide open in front of the net to make it 2-0.
Minnesota cut Anaheim’s lead to 2-1 at 11:52 when Parise scored his first goal of the season on a backhand pass from Mikko Koivu on the power play.
The Ducks struck again quickly in the second when Jakob Silfverberg scored his second goal of the season on a nice pass from Perreault behind the net.
Despite outworking Anaheim in the second, the Wild found themselves trailing by one heading into the final period. Jason Pominville’s slap shot from just above the right circle on the power play at 8:28 of the second made it 3-2.
Parise’s second goal tied it at three 1:15 into the third period after Ballard intercepted a pass at the blue line and found him in front of the net. Parise initially missed on a tip, but he put back his own rebound.
“Good to battle back and get a point, but yeah, we’re not real happy with this one,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
Notes: The Ducks have beaten the Wild five consecutive times. … Wild C Charlie Coyle left in the middle of the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. “I don’t think it’s greatly serious, but I also think it’d be a stretch to see him in the lineup next week,” Yeo said. … Anaheim has four consecutive one-goal victories in St. Paul. … Wild D Matt Dumba, 19, made his NHL debut. … The Ducks will complete their season-opening, three-game road trip on Sunday in Winnipeg. Minnesota will next travel to Nashville to face the Predators on Tuesday.