The Minnesota Wild played their first complete game of the season Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks. The controlled the game from the beginning in a 3-0 victory at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild have jumped out to an impressive start to the season with five wins and points in six of the first seven games. However, in none of them were they able to get through the third period comfortably. It was the team’s first win by more than one goal this season. In the other four victories they had to come from behind or hold off their opposition’s rally attempt in the third period.
Matt Dumba lifted a backhand shot over the the left shoulder of Frederik Andersen at the 16:32 mark of the first period for the eventual game-winning goal. He took a pass from Jason Zucker at the bottom of the circle and moved into the slot before beating the Ducks goaltender. Mikko Koivu extended his point streak to five games with the second assist. Koivu has recorded one point in six of the team’s first seven games.
The Wild (5-1-1) extended their lead with a pair of goals set up by their special teams in the latter half of the second period.
Thomas Vanek gave the Wild a 2-0 lead with six minutes and 59 seconds remaining in the middle frame. He ripped a slap shot past Andersen from the outside edge of the face-off circle to the goaltender’s left seconds after the team’s fifth power play opportunity of the game. Nino Niederreiter got the puck to Vanek from behind the net. Jared Spurgeon recorded the second assist on the play, the first of two helpers in the game. Spurgeon now has two assists in back-to-back games.
Spurgeon got his second assist five minutes and 24 seconds later by firing the puck around the boards behind his defensive net while shorthanded. Justin Fontaine picked up the puck at the blue line and lifted a pass to Ryan Carter on a 2-on-1 rush. Carter fired a wrist past Andersen while the goaltender was sliding across the crease.
The Ducks (1-5-1) thought they had the game’s first goal very early in the game when Shawn Horcoff kicked the puck between the legs of Devan Dubnyk. It was initially called a goal, but a review clearly showed it was kicked into the net.
No. 3 – Justin Fontaine. The Wild forward recorded an assist.
No. 2 – Thomas Vanek. The Wild forward scored a goal.
No. 1 – Matt Dumba. The Wild defenseman scored a goal.
Anaheim…..…0 0 0 – 0
Minnesota……1 2 0 – 3
First Period – 1, Minnesota, Dumba 1 (Zucker, Koivu) 16:32. Penalties – Vatanen, ANA (slashing), 6:16.
Second Period – 2, Minnesota, Vanek 4 (Niederreiter, Spurgeon), 13:01. 3, Minnesota, Carter 1 (Fontaine, Spurgeon), 18:25 (sh). Penalties – Getzlaf, ANA (hooking), 1:00; Bench, ANA (too many men; served by Perry), 5:37; Getzlaf, ANA (interference), 7:56; Maroon, ANA (interference), 10:58; Coyle, MIN (holding), 17:31.
Third Period – None. Penalties – None.
Shots on goal – Anaheim 3-6-6 15. Minnesota 15-11-4 30.
Goalies – Anaheim, Andersen (27-30). Minnesota, Dubnyk (15-15). Referees – Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette. Linesmen – Scott Cherrey, Greg Devorski.