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Fowl Ice: Wild Fall 2-1 to the Ducks

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Wild were unable to hold on to a one goal lead as they looked off offensively and the Ducks rallied to a win on their home opener.

Stephen Dunn

Whether it was the really soft ice, or the time off, the Wild looked to be behind the puck all game. Players were losing their edges randomly, players over-skating a stuck puck, and Keith Ballard was stuck in the slush all night.

Head coach Mike Yeo was asked about the reason to insert Keith Ballard into the lineup earlier this week, " Schedule-wise, I don't want to go three weeks into a season and all of a sudden we need a defenseman and they haven't played. They got no foundation, they got no base to their season and all of training camp would have been a waste. That and we have a team here, not just a bunch of guys and a few extras." Unbeknownst to the coaching staff on Thursday, Ballard would, in fact, play a crucial part in Corey Perry's game winning goal at the Honda Center Friday night.

The Wild lost 2-1 after leading after two periods and holding the Ducks scoreless for 44:02. Darcy Kuemper surpassed Niklas Backstrom's franchise scoreless streak record with 164:02 to start his 2014-15 campaign.

Jason Zucker would get the Wild on the board first in the second period as he used his speed to walk around former Wild Clayton Stoner to snipe one past Ducks goaltender Andersen. The Wild had three more chances on the power play tonight and were unable to find the twine, making them 0-for-10 to start the season. Many times Minnesota had yawning nets to shoot into and a fanned shot made the difference. Jason Pominville had two of the best opportunities as a cross-crease pass found nothing but a draft of air as he mis-fired the puck.

Tonight was frustrating as Andrew Cogliano scored short-handed to tie the game. There were times the Wild had trouble breaking out of the zone, and the soft ice played right in to the way the Ducks like to play. Then with some sloppy play trying to break out of the zone, a pass that hit Mathew Dumba in the skate deflected right to Nate Thompson. Kuemper was able to make the initial save, but in the scramble to get back into position after the turnover, Ballard fell over his netminder and the puck squirted out right to Corey Perry's stick for the game winner.

It was the first loss of the season for the Wild and the Islanders, who made a goof by claiming that they were the only remaining unbeaten team in the NHL yesterday, really are the only remaining unbeaten NHL team.

Here are the stats:

Category

MIN

ANA

Power Plays

0/3

0/4

Hits

21

26

Faceoff Wins

36

28

Giveaways

8

12

Takeaways

2

5

Blocked Shots

10

12

Penalty Minutes

10

8