A week after dominating the puck possession battle but losing 4-1 in Anaheim, the Wild re-paid the Ducks with another solid effort and a 3-0 victory. Matt Dumba, Thomas Vanek, and Ryan Carter scored on absolute snipes as the Wild out-shot the Ducks 30-15 and out-attempted them 43-35. Minnesota has won five of its seven games to start the 2015-16 season.
The Ducks actually had the first real scoring chance in the game as the two teams traded attempts to start play in the first period. It looked like the Ducks had gone up by a one goal lead, but an official review determined that Shawn Horcoff, whose normal menacing presence on top of the goal crease was felt a lot in the first period, had kicked the puck into the net with a distinct kicking motion. It was a good call by the referee crew of Jean Hebert and Marc Joanette. After that, the Ducks didn't get a sniff of the offensive zone for nearly ten minutes.
The Wild's first power play spent the entire two minutes of the minor in the Ducks' zone. However, as terrible as the Ducks were clearing the zone, the Wild were almost equally as bad at getting shots through to the net and Frederik Andersen. They only mustered one - ONE! - shot on goal during an impressive display of puck movement by the first power play unit.
As the Wild continued to own the offensive zone, just as they did in Anaheim a short week ago, it was Matt Dumba that would put home a wicked, rising backhander over the left arm of Andersen. Dumba, whose knack for cellies is something that even St. Thomas Academy could even appreciate, wiped the ice into a fist pump following the goal.
Wild up 1-0 after the first period. Here is Dumba celebrating the only goal in the game so far pic.twitter.com/eD4M7lY1FI— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 24, 2015
it was his first of the season. Jason Zucker, who was awarded with the primary assist, was all over the ice and making things happen on that shift. The Star Tribune's Michael Russo characterized the shift as:
Zucker with an out of his frigin mind shift....Besides the scoring chances previous sequence, he was everywhere afterward— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) October 24, 2015
Zucker still hasn't shown up on the official score sheet with a goal, but he is impacting the game in multiple positive ways.
The Wild ended the period with a 15-3 lead in shots and a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard
Anaheim had trouble withe Wild's speed all game long and ended up taking four penalties in the second as the frustration from chasing the Wild in their zone mounted. Ryan Getzlaf took two stupid, unnecessary penalties. Patrick Maroon chased Chris Porter around for almost an entire shift trying to fight him and ended up taking an interference penalty. The Wild power play, as good as it started in the first period, started to devolve into a little more chaos and less organization. However, just after the Maroon penalty expired, Thomas Vanek corralled the puck on the right half-boards, stopped, didn't have many options and fired the puck short-side over Andersen's left shoulder. It was Vanek's fourth goal, assisted by Nino Niederreiter and Jared Spurgeon. Vanek has been responsible for some seriously pretty goals scored so far this season by the Wild.
Later in the period, one of the few times the Ducks happened to get into the offensive zone, Charlie Coyle got a bit too handsy and hauled down Sami Vatanen with a holding minor. It was the lone chance the penalty kill had all game, and they answered wit ha goal of their own. Ryan Carter, who drew a penalty earlier in the period and is a +5 in penalty differential this season, scored short-handed on a fabulous feed from Justin Fontaine. Andersen appeared to have gotten over to make the save, but the rising wrist shot beat him over the right shoulder near the knob of his stick.
Dubnyk did look at one point to be hobbled slightly. it took him awhile to get back to his feet.
#mnwild goalie Devan Dubnyk said he heard his knee pop in the second period, but felt OK. Not concerned. Admitted he may be sore tomorrow.— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) October 25, 2015
Dubnyk waved the trainer back to the bench and played the rest of the game.
The Wild played out the third period without much action. It sat on the lead and just tried to preserve the shutout for Dubnyk. The Ducks did come out with a bit more energy as they "tried" to make a comeback. The Wild kept the Ducks shots to the outside, and the few that did get on goal, Dubnyk was equal to the task.
The Wild won and continue a very good October. It was a solid win in which Minnesota dominated almost from wire to wire.
Minnesota plays the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg Sunday afternoon.