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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 11th (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (18-9-5) at Anaheim Ducks (21-7-5), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild have won three of four games to begin December, but they could run into some difficulties when they visit the Anaheim Ducks for Wednesday's battle at the Honda Center.
Anaheim only has suffered two losses this season in 13 home games, and both setbacks came after regulation. At 11-0-2, the Ducks are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation as the host and the club is an impressive 27-7-3 on home ice dating back to the start of last year's lockout-shortened campaign.
Minnesota closed November on a four-game losing streak before winning three of four to begin the new month. However, all three of the Wild's December wins came on home ice, while the club suffered a 4-0 loss Friday in Columbus. It's been a similar story all season long for Minnesota, which is 13-3-2 in St. Paul this season and just 5-6-3 everywhere else.
The Ducks also enter tonight's clash having won the past five meetings with the Wild, including a 4-3 overtime victory in Minnesota back on Oct. 5. Mathieu Perreault tallied the game-winner in the extra session for Anaheim in that meeting from earlier this season.
Minnesota has lost its last two games against the Ducks in Orange County and Anaheim is 5-2-1 in the past eight encounters at the Honda Center.
The Ducks began a three-game homestand on Monday and recorded a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. It was the third straight win for the Pacific Division leaders, who also recorded a 5-2 win in their previous game against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
Corey Perry scored twice to lead the Ducks past the hapless Islanders, who lost their 10th straight game. Perry has been red-hot of late, notching a goal in six straight games and amassing eight goals and three assists over an eight-game point streak.
Cam Fowler posted a goal and two assists, while Andrew Cogliano and Saku Koivu also scored for the Ducks. Jonas Hiller turned aside 35 shots in the win.
The Isles trailed New York by scores of 1-0 and 2-1 on Monday, but eventually turned the screws against the Isles. Anaheim closed the contest with four unanswered goals, including two scores in the final 33 seconds of the second period that made it a 4-2 game heading into the final 20 minutes.
"You're always pleased when you get two points," said Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau. "Whether you play good or not, the two points are important. They came out and played really hard. We weren't ready for them. But it seemed like every time they were outplaying us, we got a goal. We just hung around long enough to get our legs, and once we got to 3-2 and 4-2 on the same shift, I think it took the heart out of them a little bit."
The Ducks will close their homestand on Sunday when they host the Edmonton Oilers.
After getting blanked in Columbus on Friday, the Wild bounced back with Sunday's 3-1 home triumph against San Jose. Zach Parise potted a pair of goals and Josh Harding posted a season-high 37 saves to help the Wild get the better of the Sharks at Xcel Energy Center.
Mikko Koivu also lit the lamp for the Wild, who won for the ninth time in 11 home games despite being outshout by San Jose, 38-13.
"We did a great job defending tonight," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "We were really sharp in our own zone. Against the rush, we were clear and decisive, picking out the right guys, sorting things out.
"But we just did an awful lot of that. That's why it's hard to get shots if you're defending as much as we were tonight."
Minnesota will get numerous chances to turn around its road fortunes over the next few weeks. The club is kicking off a three-game swing tonight and the Wild will play seven of their next eight as the guest.
12/11 10:57:58 ET
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