Just when it seemed like the Ducks had found new ways to win — on the road, on the backs of Joffrey Lupul and Bobby Ryan — they found another way to lose.
Leading 4-2 with five minutes left in regulation, the Minnesota Wild scored twice to send the game into overtime, then potted one more than the Ducks in the shootout en route to a 5-4 victory before another sellout crowd of 18,265 at Xcel Energy Center.
Lupul scored twice in his return to the lineup, Ryan added two — including one on a beautiful backhand spin-a-rama — but almost every reason to celebrate went out the window when the Ducks couldn’t answer Guillaume Latendresse’s goal when the shootout went to sudden death.
“The work that we’re putting in is not giving us the results that… We’re missing opportunities to close out a team, like we’re missing a four-on-three in overtime,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “You can’t miss those opportunities to seize the extra point. It’s simple as that.”
Jonas Hiller stopped 25 of 29, but was helplessly out of position when Antti Miettinen tied the game at 4 on a Wild power play with 1:41 left in the third period.
“Now, the power play that they got, I don’t know if I read the rulebook correctly, but on a passing or a shooting motion, if you do clip a player with a high-stick it’s not supposed to be a minor penalty infraction,” Carlyle said. “And (Joffrey Lupul) clearly pushed the puck behind the net and the referee called a high-stick.
“Now, is that the reason we lost? No. it’s not the reason we lost, but it had an effect on them getting a point.”
Ryan Getzlaf had three assists, Ryan Whitney had two, and Corey Perry had one in his first game since losing his NHL-leading point streak at 19 games.
Lupul also had the only successful goal in the shootout for the Ducks (10-13-5), who now own the dreaded title of Western Conference cellar-dwellers. The Wild (12-12-3) pulled into a tie for 12th with the victory.
“We’re finding ways to give the point away,” Carlyle said. “Be it a defensive zone coverage, be it a turnover, be it goaltending not making a stop for us, be it our penalty killing, be it our power play not, you know… Those are the things that we’re finding way to give the point up versus seizing the point.”
Forwards Kyle Chipchura and Dan Sexton all made their Ducks debut, and defenseman Brett Festerling played his first NHL game of the season. The Ducks fell to 2-2 in shootouts.