NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, February 4th (All times eastern)
Anaheim Ducks (26-22-5) at Minnesota Wild (25-21-3), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks will try to stay undefeated versus the Wild this year as they visit Minnesota and the Xcel Energy Center tonight for the third meeting this season between the clubs.
Anaheim has taken both of the previous meetings between the two squads this year, winning once at home and once on the road. The Ducks notched a 3-0 victory in Minnesota on January 17 to win for the third time in the last four matchups in the series.
That win was also just Anaheim's second in its last eight trips to Minnesota.
Jonas Hiller halted 30 shots in that 3-0 win to notch his fourth shutout of the season. Hiller had begun to take playing time away from No. 1 goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has lost three straight starts and is just 1-5-2 over his last nine outings. Giguere has yielded three or more goals in six of those outings.
Hiller has won three of his last four starts and has 14 victories on the season to Giguere's 12. Hiller stopped 21 shots in Monday's 3-2 win over Buffalo.
Chris Kunitz and Corey Perry notched third-period goals versus the Sabres, while Chris Pronger also scored in helping Anaheim win for the third time in its last four games.
Bobby Ryan has two goals in two career games versus the Wild and was named the NHL's top rookie for January on Tuesday. Ryan notched 11 goals and finished with 16 points in the month to become the first Anaheim player to receive the honor. Ryan set a team rookie record for goals in a month, topping the previous mark of seven goals scored by Paul Kariya in March of the 1995 season.
Anaheim begins a three-game road trip tonight and is 12-11-2 as the visiting team this year. The Ducks are fifth in the Western Conference despite trailing first-place San Jose by 20 points in the Pacific Division.
The Wild have won two of their last three games and are coming off Saturday's 4-3 overtime win versus Vancouver. Marc-Andre Bergeron had two goals, including the game-winner on the power play with 3:08 left in OT.
Skating on the power play, Pierre-March Bouchard sent a pass from the low left side to the top of the left circle where Bergeron blasted a one-timer past Roberto Luongo for the win. Bergeron also had an assist for his second three- point game of season.
Mikko Koivu and Eric Belanger each had a goal while Bouchard finished the game with a season-high three assists. Bouchard has a pair of three-point games over his last three outings, notching a total of two goals and five assists in that span.
Niklas Backstrom stopped 37 shots in the win.
Minnesota begins a four-game homestand tonight and is 14-9-3 as the host this year. The Wild currently find themselves tied for third in the Northwest Division and are in a four-way tie for eighth overall in the West.
02/04 10:40:21 ET