Minnesota defeats Anaheim 5-1 for fourth win in past 5 games
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Long road trips can be daunting for any team, yet the Minnesota Wild are making it look easy.
The Wild, who are on a franchise-record, seven-game trek, got their fourth win in six stops, defeating the Anaheim Ducks 5-1 on Friday night.
Minnesota got two goals and an assist from Mikael Granlund as it won its ninth in its last 11.
“We’re playing good right now. We’re playing much better with the puck,” said Granlund, who leads the team with nine goals and has eight points (four goals, four assists) during the road trip. “We got a couple goals. It was one of those games where we found a lot of space.”
Minnesota, which defeated Los Angeles 4-1 on Thursday, had a 43-21 advantage in shots as it dominated throughout. Coach Bruce Boudreau said Friday’s game ranks up there with his club’s best game this season.
“I was a little worried about the first period because I thought they would come out knowing we played last night really hard and it was the opposite. We took it right to them and took their spirit away,” Boudreau said.
Jason Zucker, Jonas Brodin and Jordan Greenway also scored for the Wild. Alex Stalock stopped 20 shots for his third win of the season.
Pontus Aberg had the Ducks’ goal, and John Gibson made 38 saves. Coach Randy Carlyle said his team was flat, but his players were more direct.
“It was just embarrassing. There’s really nothing to break down,” left wing Andrew Cogliano said.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf said the Ducks lacked mental focus and added “we were losing pucks everywhere. Everything was going off the toe, and that’s up top.”
The Wild opened the scoring less than two minutes into the contest when Joel Eriksson Ek was able to keep possession of the puck along the boards before finding Greenway in front of the Ducks’ goal for his second of the season.
Zucker and Granlund’s goals four minutes apart in the second were scored in the same fashion, with each getting great feeds from behind the net. Granlund didn’t face any pressure behind the net three minutes into the period when he passed it to Zucker, who fired it under Gibson’s pads for his second. Granlund then scored his team-leading eighth when he was able to get it under Gibson’s glove on a pass from Zucker.
Aberg put Anaheim on the board with his fifth in his last seven games. The Ducks were on the power play when Hampus Lindholm found Aberg in the right faceoff circle as the left wing then fired it past Stalock. It was Anaheim’s first goal with the man advantage in its last 16 chances.
Brodin put the Wild back up by three goals midway through the third when he fired one into the top corner of the net for his third. Ganlund completed the scoring when he was able to take advantage of a rebound off Gibson.
NOTES: It is the first time Minnesota has won both games of a back-to-back set this season. ... Greenway has two goals and two assists on the road trip. ... Minnesota had a 19-5 shots advantage during the first period. ... It is the seventh time Anaheim has allowed 40 shots or more. It came into the game allowing a league-worst 36.5 shots per game. ... Ducks D Brandon Montour, who assisted on Aberg’s goal, has three assists in the last four games.
Wild: Complete their road trip against St. Louis on Sunday.
Ducks: Host Nashville on Monday.