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Ducks are victimized by Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala again and lose third straight

The Wild's Joel Eriksson Ek (14) shoots as Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) defends during the second period Feb. 20, 2021.
The Wild’s Joel Eriksson Ek (14) shoots as Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) defends Saturday night. Gibson had 24 saves, but Minnesota rolled to a 5-1 victory to sweep a two-game set.
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

Kevin Fiala had two goals and an assist, Kaapo Kahkonen made 26 saves, and the Minnesota Wild defeated the Ducks 5-1 on Saturday night at Honda Center.

Joel Eriksson Ek, Victor Rask and Mats Zuccarello also scored for the Wild, who swept a two-game set against the Ducks.

David Backes scored and John Gibson made 24 saves for the Ducks, who lost their third straight.

Fiala continued his hot streak, having scored all of his team-leading six goals in his last seven games. He gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead at 16:17 of the first period, beating Ducks defenseman Ben Hutton to a loose puck in the offensive zone and putting a shot into Gibson’s side that trickled in. Fiala also had a power-play goal to make it 3-0 three minutes into the second.

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Alex Iafallo scored two goals, Cal Petersen stopped 22 shots, and the Kings beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 on Saturday for their fourth consecutive win.

Fiala had three goals in the two games against the Ducks, including both winners, extending his knack for getting the best of Anaheim. He has eight goals in 12 career games against the Ducks, the most against any NHL team, and two of his 10 multi-goal games have come against them.

“Especially tonight, I felt my game was where it’s supposed to be, so I have to try to keep going,” Fiala said.

Backes redirected Josh Mahura’s shot to get the Ducks within 3-1 at 16:29. Mahura made his season debut after defenseman Hampus Lindholm sustained a lower-body injury Thursday.

“I thought Josh played a really strong game,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “He was certainly ready for his opportunity.”

The Ducks' Max Jones misses a shot as Minnesota Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen defends in the third period Feb. 20, 2021.
The Ducks’ Max Jones misses a shot as Minnesota Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen defends in the third period.
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

Returning after missing two games while in the COVID-19 protocol, Rask extended the lead to 4-1 at 5:45 in the third.

Eriksson Ek made it 5-1 at 14:26. Fiala passed up his chance for his first hat trick and instead passed to Ryan Hartman, who set up Eriksson Ek’s sixth goal.

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Minnesota took the lead when Zuccarello beat Gibson to his glove side with a wrist shot from the left circle at 15:07 of the first for his first goal of the season.

“Not a fun day for anyone,” Eakins said. “You’ve got a choice to make, and we’ve just got to keep moving forward and stay gritty and work our way out of this.”

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Highlights from the Ducks’ 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night at Honda Center.

Ducks put Adam Henrique on waivers

The Ducks placed forward Adam Henrique on waivers Saturday. Henrique is in the second year of a five-year, $29-million contract and led the team in goals (26) and points (43) last season, but he has three goals and one assist through 16 games this season. Eakins did not rule out a return to the lineup if Henrique, who was scratched Jan. 31 and saw his playing time reduced significantly Thursday, clears waivers.

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“Let’s be very clear on one thing: It’s not just Adam. We’ve had a number of players take great strides and are taking over the game, and we have a number of players that are, for whatever reason, we’ll call it stuck in mud,” Eakins said before the game Saturday.

The Ducks will open a two-game set at the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.


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