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A hot start leads Ducks past the Wild

Corey Perry scores twice in the first period and Anaheim beats Minnesota.

October 15, 2009|Robyn Norwood

The slow-starting Ducks wanted a jump-start, and they got one.

Corey Perry was two-thirds of the way to a hat trick only 8 1/2 minutes into the Ducks' 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild in front of 15,111 Wednesday at the Honda Center.

Perry didn't get a third goal for what would have been the first hat trick of his career -- Ryan Carter scored the Ducks' other goal -- but Perry only shrugged.

"If it ever happens, it happens," he said. "I'm not pushing it."

Coach Randy Carlyle didn't even have him on the ice with an empty net at the end.

"There was an old guy who didn't want to get off," he said in a teasing jab at Teemu Selanne.

The Ducks got a nice start to a six-game homestand, and avoided a second collapse against the Wild, a team that beat them in overtime Oct. 6 at Minnesota after the Ducks blew a three-goal lead.

This one-goal victory wasn't as close as it looked. The Wild's final goal, on a rebound by Andrew Brunette, came with 10 seconds left with the Minnesota goalie off for an extra attacker.

Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller made 32 saves for his third victory in four starts.

"We can be quite proud with the way we played tonight, especially coming back from the road," he said. "We controlled the game most of the time. That is the way we have to play."

The Ducks hadn't scored a first-period goal this season until Perry got them started 1:41 into the game when he lifted a back-hander over Niklas Backstrom's shoulder.

Perry scored his second -- and fourth in six games this season -- at 8:29, when he took a pass from Bobby Ryan and waited until Backstrom went down, then roofed the puck over his head.

"We hadn't come out in a first period all season. It's a must, especially in our own building," Perry said. "We want to own this building. If we play like we did tonight, we're going to be all right."

Carlyle said the focus was to "create first."

"Draw the first power play, have the first body check, have the first scoring chance, win the first faceoff, all those things," he said.

Getting the first penalty-kill was another relief.

That unit has been a concern, though there's no reason to get too overwrought about ranking 21st in the league a handful of games into the season. The penalty-killing unit was much better Wednesday, thwarting the Wild on all four of its power plays and allowing only one shot, partly by keeping fresh forwards on the ice, Carlyle said.

The Ducks' power play didn't score either, but Carlyle wasn't concerned, saying the team had chances.

Back from their first trip, a mixed bag with wins over Boston and Philadelphia sandwiched by lapses against Minnesota and the New York Rangers, the Ducks have six in a row at home and nine of 10 overall, interrupted only by a short hop to Phoenix.

That gives them plenty of time to find a rhythm, and discover their "identity," as Carlyle likes to say.

Wednesday was a start -- a good one, for a change.


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