ANAHEIM - A Ducks team had won two straight games without captain Ryan Getzlaf finally looked like it needed him tonight.
Anaheim managed just 24 shots and came up empty on three power plays - plus another man advantage with a pulled goalie in the final minutes - in dropping a 2-1 decision to the Minnesota Wild at Honda Center. The Ducks' quest to win a fourth straight game for the first time this season was denied, as Wild coach Bruce Boudreau prevailed in his first visit to Honda Center since being let go by Anaheim at the end of last season.
"Individually, we need to be professional and prepare ourselves," said Ducks center Ryan Kesler, who scored Anaheim's only goal. "We gave this one away tonight. It's not a good feeling."
Down a goal with less than two minutes, the Ducks sent goalie John Gibson to the bench for an extra attacker, and Minnesota blocked a number of shots before they could get to netminder Devan Dubnyk (23 saves).
"We weren't physically involved in the game," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said, "and mentally it was like we lost ourselves for 15 or so minutes."
Minnesota came into the game a night after surrendering a two-goal lead in an overtime loss to the Kings in LA. But the Wild entered tonight having won 13 of their last 15. They also own the second-best record in the Western Conference while leading in goals and goals against.
Yet the Ducks opened up the scoring in this one with 8:16 left in the first on Kesler's 16th of the season, as he took in a Jakob Silfverberg pass and buried it from just outside the crease. But that was the last of the scoring for Anaheim tonight.
"We gave away points tonight," Kesler said. "We were the better team in the first and third, but gave it away with a bad few minutes in the second."
Indeed, a couple of penalties cost the Ducks that lead in the second period, starting when Logan Shaw and Cam Fowler took back-to-back minors and the Wild made them pay for it with a Matt Dumba one-timer at 4:39.
Less than two minutes later, Minnesota went in front for the first time on a Jared Spurgeon tip off a Jason Pominville feed to the top of the crease.
"It comes down to guys individually being prepared (to start the second)," said Ducks winger Andrew Cogliano. "We had some uncharacteristic mistakes in that period. They seemed to have a little bit more energy in the second, which is probably unacceptable in terms of the situation. That's when they won the game."
Meanwhile, the Ducks couldn't generate much offensively, getting off just 13 shots over the first two periods and coming up empty on two power plays in the second. They misfired on another power play in the third, and are 0-10 without Getzlaf in those last three games he has sat out with a lower-body injury.
"It's the execution," Carlyle said of the power play. "We've been pretty effective entering the zone, but tonight we had problems entering the zone. The power play we had in the third period is more of what we're accustomed to."
The Ducks are back at it Tuesday against Dallas at Honda Center, part of a January in which they play 10 of 14 games at home.