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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, December 31st (All times eastern)

Anaheim Ducks (28-6-6) at Minnesota Wild (19-17-2), 6 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks hope to rebound from a rare loss tonight, as they visit the Minnesota Wild for a New Year's Eve battle at Xcel Energy Center.

The Ducks were handed a 4-2 setback in Carolina on Friday evening, as Rod Brind'Amour scored the game-tying goal and added an assist.

Teemu Selanne scored both goals for the Ducks, who had won eight of ten coming into the night and suffered only their sixth regulation loss of the season. Anaheim has dropped back-to-back games on just two occasions this year.

Making just his second start in net, Michael Wall stopped 23-of-26 shots and also recorded his first career NHL point, picking up an assist on Selanne's first-period score.

Anaheim's normal starter, Jean-Sebastien Giguere missed the game after suffering a groin strain Tuesday in a 4-3 victory at San Jose. Giguere, who leads the NHL with 23 wins, left in the second period of that game and is day- to-day. Regular backup Ilya Bryzgalov has also been sidelined nearly a month, leaving Wall as the team's emergency starter.

The goaltending injuries prompted Anaheim to acquire Sebastien Caron from Chicago in a minor-league trade on Thursday. Either Caron or Wall will start this evening's contest.

Tonight is the fourth portion of a five-game road trip for the Ducks, who are 13-4-2 away from Anaheim this year.

Meanwhile, the Wild are playing the second test of a five-game homestand tonight. Minnesota beat Columbus in overtime on Friday to begin the stand and improve to 15-3-1 as the host this year.

Wes Walz's bizarre goal 1:29 into overtime lifted Minnesota to a wild 4-3 win over the Blue Jackets on Friday. With the puck in the left corner and Columbus goaltender Ty Conklin out of position, Martin Skoula threw the puck in front as Walz crashed the net. Somehow, the puck slipped into Walz's pants and Blue Jackets forward Jason Chimera checked Walz from behind, sending both Walz and the puck into the net.

A penalty was originally called on the play but after a long review upstairs, Walz was credited with the game-winning goal.

Brian Rolston had a three-point night with two goals and an assist for the Wild, who had lost three of their last four. Kurtis Foster picked up three assists while netminder Manny Fernandez finished with 26 saves.

The Ducks and the Wild are playing for the fourth time this season. Anaheim has won two of the three matchups so far, but Minnesota has taken five of the last eight encounters overall.

12/31 10:21:13 ET


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