ANAHEIM, CALIF. – The Wild overturned several trends in the process of defeating the NHL’s best team Tuesday night.
Zach Parise scored a goal and added two assists, and goalie Darcy Kuemper made 31 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in front of 15,020 at the Honda Center.
The Wild (29-20-6) gave the Ducks (39-11-5) only their second home regulation loss of the season. The visitors also became one of Anaheim’s few opponents to not relinquish a lead; the Ducks have won 16 of 24 games after the opposition scored first.
In addition, the Wild ended a six-game losing streak to Anaheim and ended an 0-for-23 stretch on the power play.
“We had a really good start and we didn’t sit back,” said Parise, in his third game back from a broken left foot. “That was the most important thing. Even when we had the lead, we kept coming at them.
“We didn’t get passive. We put them on their heels. We put them in bad spots and forced them to turn the puck over.”
The victory moved the Wild into seventh place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of eighth-place Vancouver and only two behind sixth-place Los Angeles.
Wild coach Mike Yeo called the victory one of the team’s best performances of the season.
“It’s up there,” Yeo said. “To come in and beat these guys, you know you have to be great. We couldn’t have any weak links. Guys had each others’ backs. Guys were playing really hard for each other.”
The Wild’s response to the Ducks’ physical play most impressed Yeo.
“That was one of the things I was most pleased with, really,” said Yeo, whose team had 21 hits to the Ducks’ 25. “They definitely brought it physically, and I thought we responded very well. I thought our game actually elevated at the point.”
Jason Pominville turned a blocked shot into the game’s first goal at 7:57 of the first period.
Mikael Granlund received Parise’s pass at the top of the slot and took a slapshot that Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg blocked. Pominville retrieved the puck behind the net and fired a shot that banked off goalie Jonas Hiller’s back and in for a goal.
Pominville’s goal gave him eight goals and 19 points in his past 28 games.
Dustin Penner tied the score on a shot from the left circle at 18:13 of the first period. But 19 seconds later, Penner took a slashing penalty that benefited the Wild in the second.
Parise sent a pass from the left-wing boards to Granlund, who beat the defense and fired a wrist shot that gave the Wild a 2-1 lead 13 seconds into the second.
Granlund’s goal — his fourth of the season — ended a scoreless power-play streak that included the team’s first two opportunities Tuesday night. Not since Justin Fontaine scored Jan. 9 at Phoenix had the Wild recorded a goal while holding a numerical advantage.
The Wild scored twice in a 46-second span in the third period to extend the lead to 4-1. Parise deflected Marco Scandella’s slapshot at 7:35, then Erik Haula scored his second career goal at 8:21.
Anaheim’s Mathieu Perreault scored on a four-minute power play with 9:07 to play. Mike Rupp received a pair of two-minute penalties for tripping and roughing.
From there, the Wild held on, with Kuemper making 17 of his 31 saves in the third period.
“When you have a goalie that does that,” Parise said, “it goes a long way for the confidence of the team.’’