Giguere makes 24 saves to help Ducks to 3-2 victory over Wild

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 24 saves and Anaheim bounced back from its first regulation loss of the season to hold off the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Sunday night. The Ducks' season-opening run of 16 games without a loss in regulation ended in a 3-0 loss to the Flames in Calgary on Friday night. By earning at least a point in the first 16 games, the Ducks set an NHL record.

"Good teams find ways to bounce back," Giguere said. "Obviously you can't win them all and you can't be successful all the time. But when you're not, it's important to come back the next game and play hard.

"It was important to start this homestand on the right foot and we responded very well."

The Ducks (13-1-4) lead the league with 30 points and top the Western Conference with 62 goals.

"We couldn't change what happened in Calgary, but we sure could make an impact on what happened tonight," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "It was a positive that our work ethic was where we needed to be and our power play got us a goal late.

"We did a lot of things well."

Dustin Penner and Corey Perry scored for Anaheim in the second period, and Scott Niedermayer added a power-play goal in the third.

Niedermayer's goal proved the difference, as Minnesota's Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored his second goal of the game to close the gap to 3-2 with 53 seconds remaining.

Bouchard made it close with his third goal of the season after a defensive lapse by the Ducks allowed him to beat Giguere at close range.

While Giguere faced 26 shots, the Ducks got off 38 at Niklas Backstrom, making his first NHL start after signing with Minnesota as a free agent over the summer.

"They're one of the top teams in the league," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "Overall, it wasn't that bad."

The game was the third between the teams since Oct. 20 in Anaheim, when the Ducks won 2-1 behind Giguere's 27 saves. The Wild took a 3-2 shootout victory in Minnesota the following week.

"I think we've played that team very tough this year. I think we're right there with them, every game we've played against them," said Minnesota's Brian Rolston, who was serving a penalty for slashing when Niedermayer scored.

"If my stick doesn't break there, I probably don't get a slashing penalty. It drew attention. But I take responsibility for it."

After Anaheim took a 2-0 lead in the second period, Bouchard cut the deficit when he lofted a backhander past Giguere at 7:55 of the period.

Niedermayer gave Anaheim a two-goal pad with his fifth goal, at 5:11 of the third. With Backstrom sprawled to the left of the goal after blocking a shot, Niedermayer slammed a shot from the right circle into the open net.

Ryan Getzlaf picked up his second assist of the game, and Teemu Selanne also got an assist, his team-high 16th, on Niedermayer's goal.

Following a scoreless first period, Perry gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead at 5:41 of the second. Backstrom blocked Shane O'Brien's slap shot, but the puck trickled behind the goalie in the crease and Perry poked it into the net for his fifth goal.

Penner opened the scoring with his sixth goal, at 1:07 of the second period. Penner brought the puck from behind the goal line and beat Backstrom with a 15-footer from the right side on a difficult angle.

Notes: Anaheim LW Chris Kunitz, who injured his left hand Friday night at Calgary, did not play against Minnesota and is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday. He has eight goals and five assists this season. ... The previous record streak to start the season without a loss was by the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers (12-0-3). ... The Wild were coming off a 3-2 shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.