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Wild use defensemen as their best offense

Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Minnesota Wild got only three shots from the six defensemen in their lineup.

But that was OK, because all three shots got past Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere before the Mighty Ducks got their first goal as Minnesota went on to win 5-3 Wednesday night.

Jason Marshall, Nick Schultz and Brad Bombardir staked Dwayne Roloson to the 3-0 lead before Olympic gold medalist Paul Kariya scored twice for the Ducks.

Marshall and Schultz are among five regular Minnesota defensemen who have played at least 30 games and average fewer than one shot per game.

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It was the first time this season that more than two defensemen scored for Minnesota in the same game -- and only the fifth time that more than one did. The second-year expansion team had only 18 goals from defensemen in their previous 60 games this season.

Bombardir, limited to 17 games because of a broken right ankle, scored on a screened 55-foot slap shot on a power play. That ended his 104-game goal-less drought since Jan. 11, 2000, when he scored for the New Jersey Devils.

The same could be said for Anaheim center Steve Rucchin, who returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 11 after missing 44 games because of a broken leg.

Roloson shut the door in the final 8:34 after Kariya and Samuel Pahlsson trimmed Minnesota's lead to 4-3 with goals 22 seconds apart.

Antti Laaksonen's empty-netter clinched it with 42 seconds left.

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