If we told you that the line of Mikko Koivu, Jason Zucker, and Nino Niederreiter combined for 27 shot attempts, and 15 shots on goal, you'd think that they must've scored five goal. But Anton Khudobin and the rest of a desperate Ducks team had something else to say about that. Oddly enough, it was the first full 60 minute game the Wild played this season. Yet, if the puck doesn't go in, it sometimes doesn't matter how well a team plays, and for the Wild, that was the case in its first regulation loss of the 2015-16 season.
The Ducks came into the game looking for their first win of the season. On top of that, the Ducks' offense had been offensive - scoring only one goal in the three games leading into Sunday's game versus the Wild. Cam Fowler opened the scoring for the Ducks when the puck deflected in off Charlie Coyle's stick. It changed direction and there was really nothing Devan Dubnyk could do.
Nino Niederreiter answered back for the Wild by scoring on a breakaway and crashing into the net. Niederreiter tracked down Koivu's bank pass off the boards and swept the puck under the toe of Khudobin's right pad. That was it for the Wild's scoring in the game, but they had plenty of chances. There were multiple posts, a couple fantastic scrambling saves from Khudobin, and even some timely blocks out front. One such memorable chance was when Niederreiter stripped the puck from Khudobin, who was attempting to corral the puck behind his net, and Niederreiter centered a pass to Zucker whose shot hit Hampus Lindholm.
Anaheim got its second goal on another deflected shot out front when Rickard Rakell tipped the puck past Dubnyk. The Thomas Vanek - Charlie Coyle - Justin Fontaine line had a horrible night defensively as they were on the ice for three goals. Marco Scandella and Matt Dumba were on for two of the three goals against.
The Wild had one power play on the evening and mustered just two shots on goal, but the puck movement and player movement was very good.
Mikael Granlund blew up Ryan Kesler early in the game with an otherwise clean hit, but the point of contact did look like it was the head. You be the judge.
Granlund hit on Kesler pic.twitter.com/GirFniUyp2— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 19, 2015
From that angle, it looks like Granlund makes contact with the head of Kesler, but he does not raise any elbows and looks like all the limbs and appendages are in order throughout the process of the hit.
Khudobin stopped 34 of 35 shots en route to the victory and the Ducks blocked 20 shots to preserve the lead.
Hampus Lindholm later sent a long backhand clearing attempt all the way to the back of the empty net at the other end to seal the deal for the Ducks.