The Ducks’ top scorer and their All-Star goaltender didn’t join their teammates for their game against the Wild on Friday night in St. Paul, Minnesota, remaining behind while in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols. The Ducks certainly could have used Troy Terry and John Gibson against the Wild.
Minnesota figuratively smacked the Ducks in the mouth in the opening minutes of the game, scoring twice in a span of less than 90 seconds of the first period on its way to a 7-3 victory at Xcel Energy Center. Sonny Milano of the Ducks then was literally smacked in the mouth.
Milano departed the game after taking a wicked elbow from Minnesota’s Jon Merrill on a faceoff following a boarding penalty to the Wild’s Jordan Greenway at 12:31 of the first period. Milano’s status for the Ducks’ game Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks was not immediately certain.
Kevin Fiala, Ryan Hartman and Mats Zuccarello scored first-period goals as the Wild took a 3-1 lead. Max Comtois’ second goal in three games cut the Ducks’ deficit to 2-1 at 11:39 of the first period, but Zuccarello restored Minnesota’s two-goal advantage with a goal only 3:20 later.
The Ducks found their game in the second period, but they couldn’t narrow their deficit. Sam Carrick, back in the lineup after a four-game stay in the league’s COVID-19 protocols, gave them some life during a fight with Minnesota’s Brandon Duhaime, tagging him with a couple of lefts.
Matt Boldy, Zuccarello and Victor Rask scored in the opening 2:05 of the third period, settling matters and sending Anthony Stolarz to the bench in favor of rookie Lukas Dostal. Stolarz was left to fend for himself to start the third period as the Wild built a commanding 6-1 lead.
Derek Grant and Trevor Zegras scored to bring the Ducks within 6-3, and Dostal made several quality saves to keep it from ending up a runaway. Zegras also assisted on Comtois’ first-period goal. The Ducks’ rally ended when Minnesota’s Matt Dumba made it 7-3 at 11:47 of the third.
More to come on this story.
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