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Minnesota saw its seven-game road winning streak snapped on Saturday in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings, but extended its point streak away from home to nine games, the second-longest streak in franchise history.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was disappointed after the game, not in the point, but in Minnesota’s recent trend in allowing goals. After jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first period, the Kings rallied for cheap jerseys and two goals in the second period and one more early in the third to take a 3-2 lead.
After Zach Parise scored with under a minute to play in regulation to send the game to overtime, Kings forward Tanner Pearson redirected a pass from Alec Martinez past Darcy Kuemper for the winning goal.
For the fifth time in the past six games, the Wild has given up four goals and has surrendered 22 goals over its past six games.
“You go through these things. We need one really good game where we’re back to checking everybody and not giving up a lot of good scoring chances,” Boudreau said. “When we give 10 and under, we’re a good team. When we give more than that, it’s more difficult.”
Sunday marks Boudreau’s first game back in Anaheim since he was dismissed as coach following last season. He led the Ducks to four Pacific Division championships in five years there, accumulating a record of 208-104-40 in 352 games.
The Ducks have had plenty of success against the Wild over the years, especially at home, where Anaheim has won six of the past 10 meetings with Minnesota. Five of those games, however, have been decided by one goal.
Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury, took part in the morning skate Tuesday and will be a game-time decision. “It’s coming along, and we’re trying to be as patient as we can,” Getzlaf said. “Things are progressing the way we want them to, and then we’ll re-evaluate tonight when we get here.” The Ducks, 13-5-2 at home, are coming off a 2-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. It was their first loss after three consecutive wins. “I think we just need to be a little more consistent,” defenseman Hampus Lindholm said. “We need to string games together. Even if we would lose some, you want to lose them feeling that the other team beat you. You don’t want to be feeling like you lost the game yourself. It’s something I think we can be a little better at.” The power play continues to struggle, 0-for-13 in the past five games. Defenseman Cam Fowler and center Ryan Kesler were named to the NHL All-Star Game. Kesler, 32, has been especially motivated this season, namely, by questions about continuing production at his age. “That gets me going,” he said. “Ever since I signed that contract, I want to prove people wrong. You try not to hear it, but you hear what people say, and I think that motivates me every year to come back and prove that I’m not ‘over the hill.'”
Fowler, 25 (12/5/91), has scored 9-13=22 points with 10 PIM in 42 games with the Ducks this season. Fowler leads all Ducks defensemen in scoring (22) while co-leading all league blueliners in game-winning goals (3). He also ranks third in goals (9), tied for third in power-play goals (5) and tied for eighth in power-play points (11) among all NHL defensemen. Fowler recorded his 200th NHL point on Dec. 19, 2016 in Toronto to match Matt Cullen for ninth on the franchise all-time scoring list. The 6-1, 210-pound defenseman also became the first blueliner from the 2010 Draft class to reach 200 career NHL points.
“It’s a big honor and something every player strives for,” said Fowler. “Players might not talk too much about it, but it’s a goal for everyone to be recognized as an All-Star. And for it to be in LA, where it all started for me, you can see things come full circle. I’m really looking forward to China jerseys.”
Selected by Anaheim in the first round (12th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft, Fowler has collected 43-157=200 points with 107 PIM in 456 career NHL games with the Ducks. Among all-time franchise defensemen, Fowler ranks second in scoring and assists, fourth in goals, tied for second in power-play goals (22), third in appearances, and tied for third in game-winning goals (10) and overtime goals (3).
“You look at the defense we have, specifically in the Pacific Division,” said Fowler. “You knew [Brent] Burns and [Drew] Doughty were going to be there. I thought that was automatic. But then you have Oliver Ekman-Larsson and quite a few other guys, too.”