Having made their ascent to the top of the NHL with a start they'll long cherish, the Ducks showed the Minnesota Wild they plan to enjoy the view for a little while.
The Ducks offered a solid response to their first regulation defeat by not allowing Minnesota to gain a power play and getting another solid effort in goal by Jean-Sebastien Giguere in a 3-2 victory Sunday night in front an announced 16,306 at the Honda Center.
Dustin Penner and Corey Perry scored consecutive goals to give the Ducks a working cushion, and Scott Niedermayer added a timely third-period goal to offset two by the Wild's Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
The Ducks (13-1-4) rebounded from a 3-0 loss to Calgary on Friday after a league-record, season-opening 16-game point streak. The victory Sunday put their point total at 30, which allowed them to overtake Buffalo for the league lead as they began a five-game home stand.
"We felt that we would be judged on our performance tonight," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said. "We couldn't change what happened in Calgary, but we could sure make an impact on what happened here tonight."
The Ducks put together a disciplined effort in front of Giguere as they took just one penalty -- an interference minor on Teemu Selanne -- while they were on a four-minute power play in the second period, courtesy of an interference penalty and two-minute misconduct by Minnesota defenseman Kurtis Foster.
The importance was significant as they kept Minnesota's fifth-ranked power play off the ice while getting a goal against the league's best penalty-killing team. It was the sixth time and first since 2004 that they did not allow a power-play opportunity.
"We stayed out of the box," Niedermayer said. "Obviously, we did a pretty good job of that. At the same time, our power play hadn't scored for a few games. Those are big parts of the game now, and I think it just spilled over from our play."
Giguere did his part by stopping 24 shots to earn his 10th victory, tying him for the league lead with Martin Brodeur of New Jersey and Marty Turco of Dallas.
"Even though we lost in Calgary, I think everybody had the feeling that we played pretty well," Giguere said. "We just wanted to come out in the same way. Especially having the next five games at home, we want to make sure to start on the right foot."
On a night when Chris Kunitz, the Ducks' leading goal scorer, did not play because of a hand injury, Penner gave the Ducks a lead in the second period as he took advantage of some halfhearted defensive zone coverage.
Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom made an initial save on Travis Green but Penner jumped on the loose puck, easily fended off Wild center Wes Walz and circled around to his shooting hand, where he put a sharp-angle wrist shot between the goalie's pads.
"I've been practicing that since I started playing in the pros," Penner said. "Make contact and take it to the net. I've done it a lot of times, and this time I got a reward."
The Ducks extended the lead in the second when Perry poked in his fifth goal of the season as he took advantage of Backstrom's failing to secure Shane O'Brien's point shot. Backstrom had 35 saves in his first NHL start after spending the majority of his pro career in his native Finland.
Niedermayer added another goal early in the third when he took a nice feed through the crease from Ryan Getzlaf and banged in his fifth goal. The goal broke an 0-for-15 drought with the man advantage for the Ducks.
"It came right to me," Niedermayer said. "Right on my stick. I'll take it. I was just in the right spot at the right time for it."