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Minnesota Wild snap out of scoring slump with 5-2 victory over Anaheim Ducks

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Minnesota Wild snap out of scoring slump with 5-2 victory over Anaheim Ducks

The Canadian Press
By:

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Brian Rolston had a goal and two assists, and the Minnesota Wild snapped out of a scoring slump Friday night with a 5-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.

Aaron Voros and Brent Burns each chipped in with a goal and an assist. Marian Gaborik and Eric Belanger also scored for Minnesota, which piled up a 5-0 lead with four power-play goals in the second period - the first two coming after a four-minute high-sticking penalty against Chris Kunitz, the other two after receiving a two-man advantage.

Minnesota's Josh Harding stopped 28 shots, giving up late goals to Brad May and Todd Bertuzzi.

The Wild had scored just four times in their previous four games and lost three of them. They had scored no more than two goals in any of their past six games, and came in against the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks averaging just 2.43 goals per game to rank among the league's weakest offences.

Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere gave up three goals on nine shots before Jonas Hiller replaced him at 13:15 of the second period. The Wild didn't let up, with Rolston scoring with a two-man advantage at 15:05, and Burns adding another goal on a power play at 16:10 of the period.

Hiller finished with eight saves.

Voros opened the scoring when his slap shot from the left circle sailed under Giguere's right arm at 12:08 of the first period, his sixth of the season. Gaborik's 11th goal made it 2-0 at 5:02 of the second period.

Belanger added his seventh goal 1:13 later, then Rolson notched his 10th and Burns his seventh.

The four power-play goals equalled the most the Ducks have ever allowed in a game. It happed five other times, most recently on Jan. 2, 2002 against Detroit in a 7-4 road loss.

A few hours before the game, the Ducks announced that they had traded centre Andy McDonald, a key member of their championship team, to the St. Louis Blues for centre Doug Weight, Michal Birner and a seventh-round draft pick next year.

Trading McDonald, who is in the second year of a US$10-million, three-year contract, frees enough money under the salary cap to allow Anaheim to activate defenceman Scott Niedermayer. Niedermayer decided to return after missing the first part of the season while pondering whether to retire.

When the Ducks host San Jose on Sunday, Weight is expected to play and Niedermayer likely will make his season debut.

Notes: The last time the teams met, on Oct. 14, Harding made a career-high 37 saves in a 2-0 victory to become the first goalie to record three shutouts in his first eight NHL starts since Toronto's Ed Chadwick in 1956. ... Minnesota concludes its five-game road trip Saturday night at Los Angeles. ... McDonald will not get to face his ex-teammates for the first time until Feb. 1, when the Ducks are at St. Louis. He played in his 276th consecutive game with the Ducks on Wednesday to break Samuel Pahlsson's club record; is fourth on Anaheim's career list for goals (92), game-winners (15), points (258) and assists (167). ... Minnesota is 16-0 when allowing fewer than three goals, as opposed to 1-12-2 when giving up three or more. The Wild are 16-2-1 when scoring first.

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Minnesota Wild snap out of scoring slump with 5-2 victory over Anaheim Ducks