Suter, Bjugstad score as Wild beat Ducks 2-1
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Ryan Suter and Nick Bjugstad scored, Cam Talbot made 24 saves and the Minnesota Wild returned home with a 2-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.
Bjugstad scored his fifth goal of the season 3:42 into the third period to break a 1-all tie as Minnesota set a franchise record with its ninth straight victory on home ice.
“I think we’re going through a bit of a slump with energy, but we’re finding ways to win, which is important,” Suter said. “Every game can’t be, you score six goals and everybody is smiling. Every once in a while, you’ve got to grind them out like we did tonight.”
Troy Terry scored for Anaheim, which has lost six of seven. Ryan Miller made 21 saves in his fifth consecutive start for the Ducks.
“Overall, I think we played a really solid game tonight to build off,” Anaheim defenseman Josh Manson said. “I think we’ve got to stay positive after this one. There’s some games you want to learn from and maybe you hang your head a little bit. But this is one I think we have to stay up and go forward to the next one.”
The Wild were back home following a trip to Colorado in which they were outscored 11-1 in two games. The suddenly high-scoring squad still looked sluggish early against Anaheim but recovered following Terry’s opening goal early in the second.
The Ducks outshot Minnesota 10-5 in the first but were 0 for 2 on the power play.
“Right from the start, the meeting, warmup, leading into the drop of the puck, it was just blah,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “And the guys feel it. They know it. They’re trying to catch it. They’re trying to talk their way through, energize their way through. We didn’t simplify our way through, which we could have done a little more early in the hockey game.”
Five minutes into the second, Wild forward Mats Zuccarello slipped, leading to a turnover. Terry chipped the puck past the defense at the blue line for a quick breakaway and beat Talbot with a backhand.
Terry has a four-game point streak in which he’s scored twice and added three assists.
“There’s a lot to hang our heads on this year that we need to learn from,” Terry said. “I don’t necessarily think that game was one of them. I think we can learn from it. But I think you can just see it. We had more energy. We were having fun and we were creating.”
Minnesota, with the NHL’s worst power play, finally struck with the man advantage when Suter’s wrist shot found its way through traffic as Miller was screened by Marcus Johansson. It was Suter’s first goal of the season and first in his past 32 games.
Bjugstad struck quickly in the third, cleaning up a rebound for an easy shot into a semi-open net.
“The start tonight wasn’t our best, but as the game went on I thought we got better,” Wild defenseman Carson Soucy said. “I think just getting confidence as the game rolls on, and then obviously just focused on those starts, try to play with that confidence, that swagger right away like we did kind of in the third there.”
Perhaps a tie heading into the third period wasn’t a good sign for Anaheim. The Ducks have had their worst offensive output in the third this season with just 19 goals while giving up 43.
Meanwhile, the Wild have done most of their damage in the third, scoring 33 goals.
Anaheim has played 33 games this season and 21 have been decided by one goal. It’s the highest percentage of any team in the league, and the Ducks are on pace to play the most one-goal games in the NHL in more than 10 years.
HOME SWEET HOME
Minnesota started a three-game homestand, where it is 11-3-0 this season. The nine-game win streak is the longest current run in the NHL. The Wild had three eight-game home streaks before this season, the last coming in 2016.
Manson returned to the lineup after missing six games with a lower-body injury. He’s been limited to seven games this season. ... Miller started again in the absence of John Gibson, who missed his fourth straight game.
Johansson returned for Minnesota after missing 16 games with an upper-body injury.
The teams finish a two-game series Wednesday in Minnesota. Anaheim is on a six-game trip, its longest of the season.
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