ANAHEIM, Calif. -- For the first two periods Wednesday night, the Minnesota Wild was given an up-close-and-personal lesson as to why the Anaheim Ducks have been so dominant on home ice.
The Wild could get almost nothing done against the bigger, faster Ducks, who skated through the neutral zone as if Wild players were a bunch of traffic cones and pushed the Wild off pucks with almost no effort during Minnesota's rare forechecks.
The Wild finally found its game in the third period, but in the end, the Ducks stretched their home record to 12-0-2 this season with a 2-1 victory over the road-weary Wild.
Jason Pominville scored his 15th goal on the Wild's only power play of the game early in the third period, but in the end, the Wild fell to 5-7-3 on the road to open a three-game road trip that continues in San Jose on Thursday night.
The Wild, which entered the game having scored 1.85 goals per game on the road and had been shut out in two of its previous three road games, could barely muster a scoring chance in the first 40 minutes before Minnesota pressured in the third.
Jonas Hiller kept the Wild from the tying goal midway through the third when he stopped Charlie Coyle on a breakaway. Hiller made 23 saves.
If it weren't for goalie Josh Harding, the Wild still would have been blown away in a somewhat even first period. In the second, the Wild was outscored 2-0 and outshot 14-7 as it was taken to clinic.
After a scoreless first period, Harding would probably want the first goal back. Defenseman Alex Grant, who is about 10 or 11 on Anaheim's injury-riddled depth chart, blew his second career goal by him from a bad angle. But it came after the Wild's second line, particularly a poor-positioned Jason Zucker, allowed the Ducks to fly into the offensive zone uncontested and with speed.
It was the theme of the middle period. Time and time again, the Ducks were allowed free reign to simply fly through center-ice against backing-up, poorly gapped defensemen.
It created chaos in the Wild end. Harding recovered from the bad goal 2 minutes, 37 seconds into the period by robbing Corey Perry's fluttering rebound attempt of Dustin Penner's shot off the crossbar with his glove. Later, he robbed Teemu Selanne, who has no points in 16 games, with the glove.
But after Ryan Getzlaf was again able to fly into the Wild zone without any hindrance, Keith Ballard whiffed on Hampus Lindholm's rebound off the end boards, Clayton Stoner didn't tie up Perry and the NHL's hottest goal scorer potted his 21st goal.
Perry extended his career-best goal streak to seven games, and Getzlaf extended his league-best point streak to 13 games.
Harding, who entered the game with a 16-4-3 record, the NHL's best goals-against average at 1.50 and second-best save percentage at .938, was strong again in the first period.
The Wild got off to a decent start, jumping out to a 4-0 and 5-2 shot lead before taking a dip. The Ducks flew through the neutral zone and put pressure on the Wild constantly.
It led to a seven- or eight-minute span of icings and defensive-zone draws and near close calls. But every time, Harding was there to save the Wild's hide.
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