Happy ending: Wild beats Ducks 2-1 in overtime
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Wild coach Todd Richards is still trying to coax a full 60 minutes of hockey out of his team. But on Wednesday, 30 minutes and change was enough.
Antti Miettinen's overtime goal lifted the Wild to a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. But the victory took some doing, coming after the home club dominated the first 20 minutes, and was completely dominated for the final 20 minutes of regulation.
The Wild peppered the Anaheim net with 11 shots in the opening period, but got nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. In the third period, the Ducks out-shot the Wild 16-2, but were shut out themselves.
It took a bad read by the Ducks in the extra session to make it a two-point night for the Wild. Rookie defenseman Marco Scandella, playing in just his third NHL game, picked up a loose puck between the blue lines and went hard to the net. His shot was stopped, but Miettinen got a shot off the rebound, only to have the puck bounce up, off Miettinen's shoulder, and into the net.
After a review, the goal stood, giving Scandella his first point as a NHLer.
"I saw it bounce right back and go in," Miettinen said. "I was pretty sure they were going to allow it right away because I was just skating pretty fast that way, so that was the motion that put the puck in, not anything else."
Just seconds after the Wild failed to convert on a short-handed 2-on-1 break in the second period, the Ducks notched a power play goal to take the first lead. And then, in a flash, the lead was gone.
A Martin Havlat goal that was notable mostly for its rarity - it was just Havlat's second of the season, and his second in as many home games - knotted the game at 1-1. The man who came to Minnesota with the reputation of being an eastern European goal-scoring machine simple flipped a puck toward the net, with the backhand, from below the goal line. On a night when seemingly every shot was an adventure for Ducks goalie Curtis McElhinney, this one tricked over the goal line.
Last season, Havlat needed 22 home games to score twice in St. Paul, and this season he's done it with a week to go before Thanksgiving. But the third period letdown, which nearly allowed the Ducks to salvage the final game of a road trip, was what had Richards most concerned afterward.
"We have to figure out putting together 60 minutes," the coach said. "Tonight I would say we had maybe 30 minutes of good hockey, and we've got to find that other 30 minutes. We're staying in games, but we can't be too fooled by ourselves either. And we're finding ways to win, you've got to give the guys credit for that. But we have to be better. We have to be more consistent in our play."
Scandella's strong play - he logged more than 21 minutes of ice time on Wednesday - and the end of Brent Burns' two-game suspension, creates an overabundance of defensemen on Richards' roster. The coach said that prior to Friday's road game in Detroit, they may consider sending one of the eight defensemen currently on the roster down to the minor league affiliate in Houston.