Minnesota at Anaheim

Ryan finds target twice, sets one goal up for Ducks against Wild

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Bobby Ryan substantially improved his chances of making the U.S. Olympic team with a solid offensive performance against the Minnesota Wild. More importantly, he helped the Anaheim Ducks grab a critical two points in their bid to get back into playoff contention.

Ryan scored two goals and set up another by red-hot rookie Dan Sexton, leading the Ducks to a 4-2 victory on Tuesday night and helping put them within eight points of the eighth and final Western Conference seed.

Ryan has 19 goals, tying Tampa Bay's Ryan Malone for the most goals this season by American-born players. The U.S. Olympic roster will be announced on Friday.

"To be honest, I thought about it more at the beginning of the year," said Ryan, who hails from Cherry Hill, N.J. "I've tried to just let my play do the talking and try to get this team out of the basement. So we'll worry about that when it comes. I'll be tuned into the TV like everybody else waiting for the announcement, and I hope to wear the colors in February."

Teammate Ryan Whitney, a native of Boston, also has a good shot of making the Olympic squad. He leads all American-born defensemen with 22 points and had a plus-minus rating of plus-4.

"I think it has an effect on all of your players that are potential Olympians," coach Randy Carlyle said. "You can't help as a player to not think about it. And when your friends in your support group and the media talk about it, you're going to hear about it.

"The one thing that we've asked is their contribution is to be here, first and foremost," Carlyle added. "And if they make a positive one here, it enhances their opportunity to play there. So we ask them to be professionals and we try to deal with it. But I don't it's been an issue for our players."

Jonas Hiller made 29 saves and Todd Marchant added a short-handed empty-netter with 10 seconds remaining in his 300th game with the Ducks. They played without center Ryan Getzlaf for the first time this season after he cut his right leg with his own skate during Saturday's loss at San Jose. But he is expected to return to the lineup sometime during the three-game road trip that begins on Thursday at Dallas.

"We've been in desperation mode for 10-15 games," Ryan said. "We came out hard tonight and the guys were prepared. When a guy like Getz goes down, it really impacts everybody around the room. So some guys have to step up."

Antti Miettinen and Kim Johnsson scored for the Wild, who squandered a chance to set a team record with their 11th win this month. At 10-5 in December, they have one more opportunity to do it, on Thursday against at home against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Ducks led 2-1 at the end of a penalty-free first period in which they outshot Minnesota 17-8 -- their highest shot total in a first period this season.

Ryan opened the scoring at 7:08, intercepting Derek Boogaard's attempted clearing pass in the neutral zone and carrying the puck back into the Minnesota end before beating Josh Harding high to the glove side with a 35-foot wrist shot from the slot.

"They were a desperate team coming in," Minnesota forward Cal Clutterbuck said. "They're in a situation now where if they don't turn it around soon, things are going to start looking more and more dull for them down the stretch."

Miettinen tied it at 15:41 with his ninth goal after Mikko Koivu got the puck away from defenseman Brett Festerling behind the net.

But the Ducks regained the lead 35 seconds later when Sexton got a cross-ice pass from Ryan and beat Harding high to the glove side with a short wrist shot. Sexton has six goals and three assists in his first 12 NHL games after getting promoted from Manitoba of the AHL on Dec. 4.

The Ducks didn't have a power play opportunity until late in the second period, when Eric Belanger was sent off for slashing Marchant and Kyle Brodziak got the gate 46 seconds later for holding Corey Perry. Ryan made it 3-1 three seconds after the first penalty expired, converting a cross-ice pass through the crease from Saku Koivu for his 19th goal and 100th NHL point.

Johnsson, who has scored in three straight games for the first time in his career, got Minnesota closer with his fifth of the season during a power play. Matt Beleskey was off for high-sticking Shane Hnidy when Johnsson beat Hiller to the glove with a one-timer from about 50 feet in the slot with 6:53 left.

But the Ducks killed off two more Minnesota power plays in the final 3:09.

The game was held up for a few moments after Harding was struck near the Adam's apple by Parry's wrist shot at 13:53 of the second. But the goalie just got the wind knocked out of him and remained in the game, finishing with 28 saves.

Notes

  • Minnesota, one of the major hotbeds of collegiate hockey in the United States, doesn't have any American-born players on its active roster.
  • Anaheim C Ryan Carter, who was born in St. Paul, Minn., returned to the lineup after missing 22 games with a broken foot.
  • Ducks enforcer George Parros was a healthy scratch on his 30th birthday.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Nick Boynton is all smiles -- not for scoring a goal -- but after fighting Derek Boogaard.  (AP)
Nick Boynton is all smiles -- not for scoring a goal -- but after fighting Derek Boogaard. (AP)

Scoreboard
Minnesota (20-17-3)1012
Anaheim  (16-16-7) «2114
Three Stars
B. Ryan
ANA


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
S. Koivu
ANA


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
J. Hiller
ANA


Saves: 29
Save Pct.: .935
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
07:08Bobby Ryan (18), Slap Shot, Unassisted.
15:41Antti Miettinen (9), Tip-In. Assist: Brunette, Koivu
16:16Dan Sexton (6), Slap Shot. Assist: Ryan, Wisniewski
2ND PERIOD
18:44Power Play - Bobby Ryan (19), Slap Shot. Assist: Koivu, Niedermayer
3RD PERIOD
13:07Power Play - Kim Johnsson (5), Slap Shot. Assist: Koivu, Havlat
19:50Short - Todd Marchant (6), Empty Net. Assist: Wisniewski, Koivu
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
01:03Boynton, 2 min, Tripping
11:53Boynton, 5 min, Fighting
11:53Boogaard, 5 min, Fighting
11:53Boogaard, 10 min, Misconduct
12:26Scott, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
12:26Bodie, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
12:26Bodie, 10 min, Misconduct
12:26Scott, 10 min, Misconduct
16:41Belanger, 2 min, Slashing
17:27Brodziak, 2 min, Holding
3RD PERIOD
09:36Miettinen, 2 min, Tripping
12:06Beleskey, 2 min, High-Sticking
16:51Niedermayer, 2 min, Hooking
19:12Boynton, 2 min, High-Sticking
Shots On Goal
 123T
Minnesota8121131
Anaheim1712332
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Josh Harding58:37283
Jonas Hiller60:00292
Game Information
Attendance - 16960
Referees - Tom Kowal, Dennis LaRue
Linesmen - Lonnie Cameron, Tony Sericolo
 
Other Games
Pitt 3 Final
Buf 4
Chi 4 Final
Dal 5
Colu 1 Final
NYI 2
Van 2 Final
Pho 3
Nash 4 Final
StL 3