Ondrej Kase’s tiebreaking goal at 16:04 of the third period enabled the Anaheim Ducks to clinch a playoff berth with a 3-1 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.
As a result of the win and the Chicago Blackhawks’ victory over the St. Louis Blues earlier Wednesday night, the Ducks guaranteed themselves postseason entry through either the Pacific Division or a Western Conference wild-card spot.
The Ducks posted their eighth win in 10 games and moved into third place in the Pacific, one point ahead of the idle Los Angeles Kings. Minnesota already had qualified for the postseason, and the Wild wrapped up the No. 3 seed from the Central Division thanks to the Blues’ defeat.
Kase broke a 1-1 tie as he converted the rebound of a Josh Manson shot. Andrew Cogliano closed out the scoring with an empty-netter with 2:13 left in the game after Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk was pulled for an extra attacker.
Nick Ritchie also turned on the red light for Anaheim. Matt Dumba scored for Minnesota.
Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller stopped 26 of 27 shots for the win. Dubnyk finished with 27 saves on 29 shots.
The game was tight even though both teams were missing key defensemen as the playoffs approach. Minnesota played without Ryan Suter, who is sidelined for the rest of the season with a broken fibula, and Anaheim was without Cam Fowler, who will miss two to six weeks with a shoulder injury. The Ducks were also without top goaltender John Gibson, who is out day-to-day with an undisclosed upper-body injury sustained Sunday against Colorado.
The Ducks also received some offensive input from their rearguards as both Manson and Francois Beauchemin recorded two assists.
Anaheim overcame an early second-period deficit with three unanswered goals.
Dumba opened the scoring on a power play 6:08 into the middle frame as he one-timed Jonas Brodin’s pass over Miller’s glove.
Ritchie created a 1-1 tie just under seven minutes later, jamming Beauchemin’s pass from behind the net through Dubnyk. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau challenged the goal, contending that Ducks forward Adam Henrique pushed Dubnyk backwards, but the tally was allowed to stand after a video review.
—Field Level Media