Ducks lose at Minnesota in season finale as Ryan Miller plays his last game

Ducks goalie Ryan Miller waves to the crowd May 8, 2021, after it was announced this would be his last NHL game.
Ducks goalie Ryan Miller waves to the crowd at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., in the final game of his 18-season NHL career. The Ducks lost 4-3 in overtime to the Wild.
(Craig Lassig / Associated Press)

Victor Rask scored 2:46 into overtime, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Ducks 4-3 on Saturday night.

Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Hartman and Nick Bonino also scored, and the Wild finished 4-1-2 on a season-high seven-game homestand. Kirill Kaprizov added two assists, and Cam Talbot stopped 19 shots.

Minnesota (35-14-5), which began the day a point behind Colorado for second place in the West Division and home-ice advantage for the opening playoff round, is 21-5-2 at Xcel Energy Center this season, including 19-2-2 since Jan. 31.


“Whenever you’re playing at home, you want to make sure you take care of business, and we’ve done that so far this year and we have to continue that going into playoffs,” Spurgeon said.

Rask took a pass from Matt Dumba and hammered a shot past Ryan Miller from the left circle.

“It was just a great pass by Dums,” Rask said. “He caught everyone off guard. I wasn’t very tired, so I still had legs.”

Miller concluded his stellar 18-season career by making 21 saves for the Ducks, who finished 17-30-9 and missed the playoffs for the third straight season.

Rickard Rakell, Trevor Zegras and Max Comtois scored for the Ducks, the latter on a slap shot with 25.5 seconds left in regulation.

“The last few games, we’re playing against very, very good teams, and you can see we’re right there and we just got to take that next step,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said.

Kaprizov, the favorite to be named the NHL’s top rookie, has 24 assists among his team-leading 51 points. He has 11 goals and five assists in his last 12 games.

His second helper of the night was a saucer pass to Hartman for an easy redirect for a 2-1 lead.

Bonino took a feed from Nico Strum to score less than a minute later.

Zegras scored early in the third period to get the Ducks within 3-2 and was robbed by a sprawling save by Talbot a few minutes later.

The Ducks did not score during their lone power play. Their 8.9% success rate this season is the worst in modern-era NHL history. Tampa Bay had a 9.4% power-play percentage in 1997-98.

The Wild's Victor Rask, right, celebrates with Mats Zuccarello after Rask scored the overtime winner.
The Wild’s Victor Rask, right, celebrates with Mats Zuccarello after Rask scored the game-winner in overtime Saturday.
(Craig Lassig / Associated Press)

One last Miller time

Miller received handshakes from all Ducks and Wild players after the game, his 796th and final one. He also received a standing ovation following a tribute video played during the first period. Miller countered with a wave and stick salute.

His parents were among those watching in person.

“It was nice to have them there,” Miller said. “They were there at the beginning, and I felt it was the right thing to have them there at the end.”

Finishing with a career record of 391-290-1 playing for Buffalo, St. Louis, Vancouver and the Ducks, Miller is the all-time leader among American-born goaltenders in wins, second in shutouts (44) and games played (795), and is one of six goalies in league history to win 30 games in seven straight seasons (2006-12).

Anze Kopitar became the 91st player in NHL history to score 1,000 points. It was fitting that he earned the milestone point on an assist.

Miller won the Vezina Trophy in 2009-10 with Buffalo, going 41-18-8 with .929 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average. He also backstopped the United States to a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics that season and was named the tournament’s MVP.

Said Wild coach Dean Evason: “Hopefully our young guys really appreciate where these guys have come from and how they’ve competed for that long and try to do the same.”

Highlights from the visiting Ducks’ 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild in overtime Saturday night.

No Parise again

Wild left wing Zach Parise was a healthy scratch for the second straight game and third time since April 5. “It’s numbers, and we have to make a decision,” Evason said. “It’s a tough call, obviously, but you’ve got to make that decision.”

In the ninth season of a 13-year, $98-million deal, Parise has seven goals and 11 assists in 44 games but zero of either in nine straight games as his playing time has steadily decreased.

Up next

Wild: First of two games at St. Louis starting Wednesday.