Alexander Shun | @alexpshun
Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com
They had their chances to get a goal, or two or three but Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson made save after save and eventually helped his team to blank the Minnesota Wild 1-0.
As I said, the Wild had their chances, the best of which came on a second period power play.
Moving the puck left to right, Jared Spurgeon dropped the puck to Zach Parise who immediately lined a pass over to a waiting Eric Staal who fired a one-timer at Gibson. Gibson made a sprawling save with his left pad to deny Staal and keep the Wild off the scoreboard.
Minnesota had chances in the first period as well when Parise grabbed a rebound off the boards and tried to fire it past Gibson only to be denied. Spurgeon also had a chance to get Minnesota on the board in the first but a great clearing play by Anaheim's Hampus Lindholm kept the Wild defenseman from scoring on the wide open net.
When the third period came to a close, the Wild had been dealt just their third shutout this season.
"You're never happy when you lose," Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said after his team's 1-0 loss. "We're not happy. It was a valiant effort by our guys, but at the same time we didn't succeed in what we were trying to do."
Boudreau and Minnesota were 2-0-0 against Anaheim this season entering Tuesday night's game but were simply unable to get anything past Gibson who finished with 37 saves and closed their season-long six-game road trip with a win over the Western Conference's best team.
"It wasn't the road trip we wanted and we knew if we could end on a good note it would kind of build confidence and salvage the trip," Gibson said after the game, speaking about his team's lackluster road trip. "I just battled. We knew it was going to be a hard game, and [we] just hung on," Gibson said. "If you worry about the end result it's not going to get you very far."
Although the Wild were unable to generate anything offensively, they did stand up to the test of playing without defensemen Jonas Brodin (injured-reserve) and Matt Dumba (lower body injury), allowing only goal on the night, and admittedly a tough goal at that.
Corey Perry lined a wide-angle shot at Devan Dubnyk who made the stop but gave up a juicy rebound to a crashing Joseph Cramarossa who slammed the puck into the wide open net.
"It just hit my pad and dropped and their guy whacked it before I had a chance to adjust to it,” Dubnyk, who finished with 27 saves on the night, said of the game's only goal. “Obviously, I don’t like to leave rebounds there. It was in the net pretty fast, and that’s my job to try tidy up rebounds.”
The Wild have been on the winning side of a few 1-0 games this season but Tuesday night simply ended up on the wrong one.
"Those games happen every once in a while," Dubnyk said of the team getting shut out for just the third time this season. " If we play like that, we’re going to win 90 percent of the time. We just got to keep doing that.”
Minnesota entered Tuesday night's contest having scored five or more goals in four of their previous eight games before getting blanked by Gibson and the Ducks but must move on quickly as the Dallas Stars come to town on Thursday.
"I don’t want to let it go. At the same time, I don’t want to start the riot act because we lost the game," Boudreau said. "We can't win them all...let's strap our boots back on and see what we can do."