Ducks Bounce Back With Victory Over Wild

Monday, November 13th 2006, 6:28 am
By: News On 6

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Coming off their first regulation loss of the season, the Anaheim Ducks showed they're resilient.

Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 24 saves in Anaheim's 3-2 victory over Minnesota on Sunday night, was pleased to see the Ducks quickly get back to earning points.

``Good teams find ways to bounce back,'' Giguere said. ``Obviously you can't win them all and you can't be successful all the time. But when you're not, it's important to come back the next game and play hard.

``It was important to start this homestand on the right foot and we responded very well.''

The Ducks' season-opening run of 16 games without a defeat in regulation ended in a 3-0 loss to the Flames in Calgary on Friday night. By earning at least a point in the first 16 games, the Ducks set an NHL record.

``After that loss up in Calgary, you want to be able to respond and stay positive and keep working hard. That's the way we played tonight and the way we want to prepare for every game,'' said defenseman Scott Niedermayer, whose third-period goal turned out to be the difference as the Ducks held off the Wild.

Dustin Penner and Corey Perry scored for Anaheim in the second period, and Niedermayer added a power-play goal at 5:11 of the third.

Minnesota's Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored his second goal of the game to close the gap to 3-2 with 53 seconds remaining.

In the other NHL games Sunday, Chicago beat Columbuis 1-0, and St. Louis defeated Edmonton 5-3.

Anaheim (13-1-4) leads the NHL with 30 points and tops the Western Conference with 62 goals.

``They're a tough team and they're one of the top teams in the league,'' Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. ``The only thing I didn't like was the penalties that we got.''

Minnesota's Brian Rolston was serving a penalty for slashing when Niedermayer scored the Ducks' third goal.

``If my stick doesn't break there, I probably don't get a slashing penalty. It drew attention. But I take responsibility for it,'' Rolston said.

The game was the third between the teams since Oct. 20 in Anaheim, when the Ducks won 2-1 behind Giguere's 27 saves. The Wild took a 3-2 shootout victory in Minnesota the following week.

This time, Bouchard made it close with his third goal of the season after a defensive lapse by the Ducks allowed him to beat Giguere at close range.

While Giguere faced 26 shots, the Ducks got off 38 at Niklas Backstrom of Finland, making his first NHL start after signing with Minnesota over the summer.

The loss was the first in three appearances for Backstrom. He recently had become the first goalie in the modern NHL era to post two career victories without making a start _ he won his first two appearances for Minnesota in relief.

The Wild-Ducks matchup was the third between the teams since Oct. 20 in Anaheim, when the Ducks won 2-1 behind Giguere's 27 saves. The Wild took a 3-2 shootout victory in Minnesota the following week.

``I think we've played that team very tough this year. I think we're right there with them, every game we've played against them,'' Rolston said.

After Anaheim took a 2-0 lead in the second period, Bouchard cut the deficit when he lofted a backhander past Giguere at 7:55 of the period.

Niedermayer gave Anaheim a two-goal pad with his fifth goal. With Backstrom sprawled to the left of the goal after blocking a shot, Niedermayer slammed a shot from the right circle into the open net.

Blackhawks 1, Blue Jackets 0

At Chicago, Brian Boucher stopped 28 shots for his first victory with the Blackhawks, and defenseman Lasse Kukkonen scored in the second period.

Chicago has won two straight following an 0-7-1 slide.

Columbus' Fredrik Norrena made 18 saves.

Blues 5, Oilers 3

At St. Louis, Martin Rucinsky scored twice and backup Curtis Sanford made 31 saves to help St. Louis snap a three-game losing streak.

Bryce Salvador, Rucinsky and Jay McClement also scored for St. Louis. Brad Winchester scored twice for the Oilers, and Fernando Pisani added a goal.