ST. PAUL, Minn. - Corey Perry's two goals and Jonas Hiller's fourth shutout this season sent the Anaheim Ducks to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Hiller made 30 saves and Bobby Ryan also scored, sealing Anaheim's second victory in the last six games. The Ducks, who lost 3-1 the day before in Pittsburgh, also won for only the third time in their last 11 road games. They play three more times on this trip before returning home.
The Wild lost stalwart forward Andrew Brunette to an apparent right knee injury halfway through the game, putting his streak of 497 consecutive games played - currently the longest in the NHL - in serious jeopardy. Owen Nolan's goal later in the second was waved off by a premature whistle.
The Ducks and Wild entered in a group of eight teams separated in the Western Conference standings by four points, from fifth to 12th place.
After scoring 11 goals in their last two games, 10 in even-strength situations that have been a struggle for them this season, the Wild just couldn't put their shots on target. They wasted two power plays in the opening frame, putting them in a 2-for-25 slump with an extra skater. They've dropped to 10th in the NHL in that category.
Listless in the minutes immediately after the first intermission, the Wild suffered a big blow when Brunette appeared to turn his right knee before a face-first collision with the boards.
He was doubled over in pain and could barely hobble off the ice. With Craig Weller (head injury) scratched and Benoit Pouliot (sent to the minors) unavailable, Brunette's departure left them short-handed up front and forced bruiser Derek Boogaard into more minutes than usual.
Later in the second, Kim Johnsson nearly controlled and cleared a puck that Brendan Morrison dug out of the corner, but it glanced off his skate toward Andrew Ebbett. He had the presence of mind to fire a quick pass through the slot, and Perry knocked it in for only the second goal given up by Minnesota's penalty kill in the last seven games.
The Wild woke up after that, leading to an intense remainder of the period and the home team's best opportunity of the night. Seconds after the Ducks called timeout, Marek Zidlicky's slap shot hit the crossbar. The scramble for the puck officially ended when a whistle blew, rendering Nolan's tip-in moot. But video replays showed Hiller never had control, sending the fans into a booing frenzy.
Steve Montador shoved Nolan after the sequence, starting a fight between the two and maintaining an especially chippy atmosphere until the second intermission.
Notes: D Nick Schultz played in his 492nd career game, all with the Wild, to move into the top spot on the franchise's list. He passed RW Marian Gaborik, who's on injured reserve until at least March and in the final year of his contract. ... The Ducks are 20-4-3 when they score the game's first goal. ... The last game Brunette missed was on Dec. 31, 2001, due to a bruised shoulder. That was the first season of his first stint with Minnesota.