By Lance Pugmire
11:02 PM PST, December 11, 2013
Part of Hampus Lindholm's job as a hockey defenseman is to hit people, but when he unintentionally laid out his hot-shooting teammate Corey Perry in the second period, the biggest miscue of the rookie's season was at hand.
Three minutes later, Lindholm redeemed himself, sending a hard shot that deflected off the glass to Perry in front of the net, a golden chance Perry backhanded for his eighth goal in seven games.
The goal proved decisive as the Ducks won their fourth in a row and remained unbeaten in regulation at Honda Center with a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
“Did I get hit?” Perry deadpanned after taking the blow from the 200-pound Lindholm. “It's only Hampus, so it's nothing.”
Perry followed a familiar script to his 21st goal, skating to the net and batting the puck out of the air.
“That's what you've got to do,” Perry said. “You look at a lot of the goals in the league where they're scored … I just try to go there and be a big body around the net. Things are happening.”
The second assist on Perry's goal went to center Ryan Getzlaf, who has a point in each of the last 15 games he's played. His points in 13 consecutive games (Getzlaf missed three games with an injury) ties St. Louis' Alexander Steen for the longest streak of the season.
After a scoreless first period, Ducks defenseman Alex Grant zipped a shot past Minnesota's gifted goaltender Josh Harding 2 minutes 37 seconds into the second period.
For Grant, it was his second goal on his second career shot and he also became the second NHL defenseman this season to score a goal in each of his first two games.
“He was cheating a little to the pass, I saw that, threw it on the net,” Grant said.
The Pacific Division-leading Ducks (22-7-5 overall and 12-0-2 at Honda Center) worked to repeat their scoring touch of back-to-back five-goal games, but Dustin Penner hit the crossbar on a power play and Perry's follow was gloved by a diving Harding.
Teemu Selanne was then denied on a point-blank shot from Harding's right.
The Ducks' comfort lessened early in the third when defenseman Ben Lovejoy went to the penalty box for boarding, and Minnesota wing Jason Pominville scored his team-high 15th goal 48 seconds later with a backhand follow to Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller's right.
Hiller then faced a breakaway by Wild defenseman Charlie Coyle, sticking his left leg pad to the post to stop Coyle's shot with 9:22 left in the game.
“We played good outside of that,” Hiller said after 23 saves. “I was able to get on the brakes when he was turning back.”
The Ducks were met initially by stiff resistance from Harding, who leads the NHL with a 1.50 goals-against average and stopped all 11 of their first-period shots.
Later, Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler was stopped on a point-blank rush, a spin pass from Ducks center Nick Bonino to Kyle Palmieri was halted and Harding beat Matt Beleskey on a breakaway.
Minnesota (18-10-5) is now 1-5 in its last six road games. firstname.lastname@example.org
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