Victories come in all forms, and rarely are any two the same. Two nights ago, the Ducks erupted for five goals in a game that featured plenty of offense from start to finish. Tonight, the Ducks rolled up their sleeves and dug deep, grinding out a tough, gritty 4-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. It was the type of game that required a commitment from every player in the lineup. It was the also the type of game the Ducks have given away at different times this season. Not tonight. For most of the night, the Ducks preserved a one-goal lead, and it wasn't until late in the third when they blew the game open.
After winning his 375th career victory on Sunday to pass John Vanbiesbrouck for the most victories among U.S.-born goaltenders, Ryan Miller delivered another sparkling performance tonight. The veteran netminder turned aside 31 shots for his 44th career shutout.
"We stayed together, and it's reflected in the way we've been playing in the defensive zone and other areas," Miller said. "When everyone can commit to what they need to do, it sorts itself out. The boys did a nice job."
Jakob Silfverberg gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead at the 4:22 mark of the second period with a power-play goal - his fourth goal in his last four games and his team-leading 16th of the season - and they held the lead deep into the third period.
Video: ANA@MIN: Silfverberg jams puck in for PPG
They managed to kill off consecutive penalties in the final frame to preserve their one-goal lead, then veterans Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler scored crucial insurance goals less than two minutes apart to give the team some breathing room. For Perry, it marked his second goal of the season, and his second goal in as many games. Kesler's goal snapped a grueling 39-game drought.
Video: ANA@MIN: Perry wires wrist shot past Dubnyk
Video: ANA@MIN: Kesler beats Dubnyk with wicked wrist shot
Hampus Lindholm scored an empty-net goal in the final minute to put the game away. Meanwhile, rookie Max Jones recorded his first career point with an assist on Silfverberg's power-play goal.
Video: ANA@MIN: Lindholm scores empty-netter from long range
The victory also pulled the Ducks to within three points of the Wild for the second wild card. Anaheim has won two straight games and three of its past four (3-1-0), all with EVP/GM & Interim Head Coach Bob Murray behind the bench. The Ducks' success in Minnesota continued, as the victory gave them a 10-2-0 mark in their last 12 at Xcel Energy Center dating to Oct. 27, 2011, including wins in the last four.
The Wild were shutout for the second consecutive game, both by 4-0 scores. Devan Dubnyk finished with 20 saves on 23 shots. Minnesota fell to 1-6-3 in its last 10 games.
Video: Miller, Ducks shut out Wild, 4-0