ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Jared Spurgeon had two goals, and Nico Sturm scored the tiebreaker as the Minnesota Wild beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Wednesday night and swept the teams’ two-game set.
Cam Talbot made 28 saves for the Wild, who extended a franchise record with their 10th straight home win. Ryan Suter had two assists for Minnesota, becoming the fifth active NHL defenseman to reach 600 career points.
“It was not a pretty game,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “I’ve seen some not-so-pretty games and this league, and that one wasn’t and it’s a lot to do with what we did and how we played. You never want to obviously complain about two points, that’s for sure. But there’s a lot of things that we can do better.”
Derek Grant and Max Comtois scored for the Ducks, who have lost seven of eight. Ryan Miller made 23 saves in his sixth straight start with John Gibson out for his fifth game with a lower-body injury.
Sturm scored his fourth goal of the season after a mistake by Miller. A dump-in from Nick Bjugstad went on goal. Miller tried to cover the puck, but it slid away, right to Sturm for an easy tap-in.
“I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “We’ve got all of our guys tonight, basically to a man, work their tails off. They were very in-sync in a lot of the game. I have very little issues with our play. I thought we played hard, I thought we played smart. We got a bad bounce that ends up in our net, we got a crossbar and a post on the other side and again, you’re down by one.”
Spurgeon’s two goals, giving him three this season, came off deflections on passes from Suter.
On the first goal, Suter passed from near the top of the faceoff circle to the middle, where Spurgeon redirected the puck past Miller. The second, giving Minnesota a 2-1 lead, was a tip up high in the middle of the zone after Suter’s point shot.
“I really didn’t have to do much,” Spurgeon said. “(Suter) just banked them off my stick and they went in.”
Grant’s second goal of the season came just 24 seconds after Spurgeon’s first as Anaheim answered quickly. Another quick goal from Comtois tied the game just 22 seconds into the second period.
Comtois, who was a healthy scratch for the first time this season in Monday’s game between the teams, has 10 goals to lead the Ducks.
“It’s no different than everybody in life,” Comtois said. “I had five bad days at the office and it’s a little reset, and I was ready to go tonight.”
The game started at 4:30 p.m. Central time as the first game of a TV tripleheader. The teams were ready for the start with two goals and two fights within the first 9:34 of the game.
On the fighting side, Minnesota’s Joseph Cramarossa and Anaheim’s Max Jones first dropped the gloves. Eleven seconds later, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf challenged Wild defenseman Carson Soucy to fight after Soucy leveled Troy Terry with a hit.
Soucy wasn’t penalized for the hit. Getzlaf was given an instigator penalty, a 10-minute misconduct and the two were assessed fighting penalties.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” Soucy said of Getzlaf. “He’s one of their better players and their captain still sticking up for their younger guys. I was just happy he asked and kind of gave me a chance to get ready for it.”
After playing each other on Monday, Anaheim and Minnesota each placed players in the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Zach Parise was placed on the COVID Protocol Related Absence List on Wednesday, with Cramarossa recalled from the taxi squad to take Parise’s spot in the lineup.
The Ducks had four players enter the protocol on Tuesday, including three who were in uniform for Monday’s game. Danton Heinen, Ben Hutton, Jacob Larsson and Anthony Stolarz joined the list. Hutton and Larsson, a pair of defensemen, and Stolarz, the backup goaltender, were in the lineup on Monday.
“All of those guys already have had a negative test, so we are encouraged that maybe it was just a false positive,” Eakins said. “All the players in question have been in quarantine. The hotel and staff have done a great job of getting them what they need while they’ve been buried in their rooms and we’ll see what tonight and early tomorrow brings us with the tests.”
Ducks: Continue their season-long trip on Friday at St. Louis, the first of two games between the teams.
Wild: Finish their three-game homestand Thursday against the Blues.
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