Wild's offense stays stuck in reverse in loss at Anaheim

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 2, 2013 - 9:17 AM

The top Wild line spent much of the night scrambling on defense, failing to put a shot on net until the third period.

ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Bruce Boudreau knows the best way to beat the Wild is to shut down persistent Zach Parise and the first line.

The Anaheim Ducks coach called Parise the "Tasmanian devil" because his legs are always moving.

Friday night, Parise's legs never stopped moving, but that's because he was always defending just like the rest of his teammates during a 3-1 loss at the Honda Center.

"We were in our zone all night," Parise said.

Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley didn't register a shot until 4 minutes, 14 seconds remained in the game. They also were on the ice for Kyle Palmieri's first of two goals as the Wild's three-game point streak ended.

Bobby Ryan scored a goal and two assists and Teemu Selanne assisted on all three goals.

The Wild, winless in three games on the road (0-2-1), barely mustered an offensive attack against a 30-year-old rookie goalie named Viktor Fasth, a two-time Goalie of the Year in the Swedish Elite League. Fasth looked shaky early, but the Wild had difficulty all night getting out of its end thanks to overpowering forechecks by the bigger, more skilled Ducks.

The Wild defensemen were pressured and could barely execute first-pass exits.

"You're not going to win a lot of games when you're not getting in on the forecheck, you're not sustaining any kind of offensive pressure. I mean, they were all over us," defenseman Tom Gilbert said.

"Once they get down low, they get hold of the puck, and some of those guys are pretty tough to get the puck away from. A couple times we got lost. We need to be better getting out of the zone."

Provided the last change because the Ducks were the home team, Boudreau did his mightiest in trying to toss defensemen Francois Beauchemin and Sheldon Souray over the boards any time Minnesota's first line got a shift. Beauchemin, especially, was rock solid.

Parise and Heatley have not scored a goal in three games in a row, but this was by far the line's most unproductive night in terms of creating chances. The trio that has scored 11 of the Wild's 19 goals was chasing the puck all game.

"What both teams wanted to do is get pucks in and play against the other team's D," Heatley said. "They did a better job of it than us. They're a team that grinds teams down and they did that to us."

Marco Scandella scored the Wild goal and Niklas Backstrom made 28 saves.

"We were in a position to even steal a game tonight because of him," coach Mike Yeo said. "But you don't win games when you don't have everybody and we didn't have everybody tonight."

The Wild might have suffered an injury late in the third, when Matt Cullen was crushed by Palmieri by the referee's crease. Cullen didn't return to the game and there was no update afterward.

The Wild should have just felt fortunate it survived the first period. Outshot 13-6, the Wild spent a lot of time in its own zone not only trying to fend off the top line that included Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and the second line that included Selanne and Ryan, but the fourth line.

But Scandella scored his fourth career goal and first in 42 games 15 seconds after the Wild killed off a Pierre-Marc Bouchard minor. Cullen stopped a puck along the wall and passed to Scandella, who pinched to the top of the left circle and wristed a shot through Fatsch's wickets.

But the Ducks rallied on second- and third-period goals by Palmieri.

"They played the type of game that we want to play and they executed a lot better than us," Yeo said.

  • ANAHEIM 3, WILD 1 • Up next: 8 p.m. Monday at Phoenix • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

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