ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)Ryan Hartman scored with 12.1 seconds left in overtime and the Minnesota Wild extended their season-opening win streak to four games, rallying to beat Anaheim 4-3 on Saturday night.
Minnesota has won two straight overtime games and rallied from a deficit in all its wins.
Brandon Duhaime, Jared Spurgeon and Jon Merrill scored for Minnesota, which has won its first four games for the first time since 2008-09. All are by one goal. The franchise best for season-opening wins is six in 2006-07.
”We’re having a lot of fun as a group right now, it’s a good group of guys,” Merrill said. ”We’re just . having a lot of fun and winning helps all that and we’re just looking to keep this streak going.”
In overtime, Mats Zuccarello corralled a loose puck in the neutral zone and fed Hartman, who had just come off the bench and beat John Gibson from the left circle.
”I knew as soon as I got it that there was a clear play to the net, and Zuccy, obviously the vision he has, he got it to me, and I managed to stay onside for what felt like the first time all game,” said Hartman, who picked p his second career overtime winner.
Minnesota has won its last nine games against Anaheim, and is 11-1-1 in the last 13 games between the teams. The Wild won 2-1 in Anaheim on Oct. 15, when Marcus Foligno scored with 7.2 seconds left in regulation.
”They’ve won every game by one goal, so they’re obviously comfortable in those situations,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said.
In the last outing of a four-game trip in which it went 1-2-1, Anaheim got two goals from Rickard Rakell and another score from Troy Terry. Hampus Lindholm and Getzlaf each had two assists, and John Gibson made 32 saves.
”This year, there’s just a different feeling around the team that we believe that we can, if we play the right way, that we can play with anybody and not only play with them, but win the game,” coach Dallas Eakins said.
Rakell scored on a redirect early in the second, and Merrill tied the game 3-3 in the middle of the period with his first goal in 59 games, converting a feed from Foligno, who circled behind the net before a backhand feed to Merrill. Anaheim unsuccessfully challenged that the Wild were offsides.
”I was just trying to mention to the refs that I haven’t scored in a while, I could really use this one,” Merrill said.
Rakell scored on a rebound 78 seconds into the game, before Duhaime netted his first career goal midway through the opening period in an unusual way. Looking down to pick up his stick, a shot from Nico Sturm ricocheted off a defender’s stick, then Duhaime’s skate and into the net.
”I think I blacked out. Just looked in the net, it was there, and then everyone started coming to me. So I figured I’d take it,” Duhaime said.
Said Wild coach Dean Evason: ”It’s the ugliest first goal I’ve ever seen.”
Spurgeon scored on a slap shot less than two minutes later, and Terry scored on a deflection a couple minutes after that, tying the game at 2-all. Terry has two goals and four assists in his last four games.
NOTES: Cam Talbot had 21 saves for Minnesota. . Foligno has a four-game point streak, his best to start a season. . Anaheim D Kevin Shattenkirk’s five-game point streak to begin the season ended. . LW Max Comtois returned to the Ducks lineup after being a healthy scratch Thursday. He played with Terry and Getzlaf and was penalized twice. LW Sonny Milano was scratched.
Anaheim: Returns home for a game against Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Wild: Hosts Nashville on Sunday.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports