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Dubnyk, Wild shut out struggling Ducks with 15 saves

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Anaheim Ducks are running out of ways to explain the baffling start to their season, one that continued Saturday with a 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

The Ducks were shut out for the fourth time in seven games; they were shut out four times all of last season.

"I don't really have much to say; we're trying to say all the right things. As a group, we're trying to encourage each other," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "But I'd be lying if I said it was easy to be positive right now. This is a tough go that we have."

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk had to make 15 saves for his first shutout this season.

Anaheim had a goal disallowed 2:09 into the game, was outshot 15-3 in the first period, and 26-9 through the second.

Minnesota (5-1-1) scored twice in the second period against Anaheim, which has scored more than that once this season, in a 4-1 win against the Wild last Sunday.

"We're desperate. I've never been in this to start a season," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "It's hard to explain, other than we had a bunch of changes and we don't seem to be able to get together as a group fast enough to start the season. We [have to] find a way to do that."

Anaheim (1-5-1) had won six in a row here. Shawn Horcoff appeared to score a goal from in tight, but after review it was ruled he used a distinct kicking motion to put the puck past Dubnyk.

Minnesota used the opportunity to slowly build momentum, eventually taking a 1-0 lead. Fresh off the bench on a line change, defenseman Matt Dumba gathered a pass from Jason Zucker in the slot, skated in, and roofed a backhand at 16:32 of the first period.

The Ducks committed four straight penalties in the second period. The final one led to Thomas Vanek's fourth goal at 13:01, three seconds after Patrick Maroon's interference penalty expired.

"After we killed the first three, we were talking on the bench, 'If we kill this one, we're going to win the game,'" Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Eventually, it usually turns the other way."

Five minutes later, with Anaheim on its first power power play, a missed assignment allowed Minnesota's Justin Fontaine and Ryan Carter to get loose on a 2-on-1. Fontaine slid a pass to Carter near the left hash, and he shot high to beat goalie Frederik Andersen at 18:25.

"That was them pressing a little bit, but it was nice to capitalize on it," Carter said.

Defenseman Jared Spurgeon assisted on the final two goals, and forward Mikko Koivu extended his point streak to five games with an assist on Dumba's goal.

Minnesota has won consecutive games and plays at the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. The Wild are in a stretch of four games in six days after playing five games in 14 days to start the season.

"It helps when you're getting the game reps," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "We've been talking about, 'Let's continue to build our game.' You have an opportunity to look at the video and look at the things you're doing properly and the things you have to correct."

Anaheim has lost the first two of a five-game Central Division road trip, with a game against the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.

"It's difficult when you're not scoring goals," Boudreau said. "I think [the pressure] mounts, human nature would dictate that it would. And when you do have chances and you don't score, it's magnified even more.

"We're holding the sticks so tight, we can't make plays. You see pucks bouncing off our sticks, you see them wanting to make the perfect play for a goal. When things go bad, you just have to shoot everything at the net and go to the net and hope one bounces off your butt or something. Often times, that's what starts things."

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