ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — John Gibson made 33 saves in his 20th career shutout, and Nicolas Deslauriers scored early in the third period of the Anaheim Ducks’ 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Monday night.
After two scoreless periods dominated by Gibson and Minnesota goalie Cam Talbot, Deslauriers converted a superb pass from new Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk for his first goal of the season. The Ducks hung on to earn their first win of the season while winning their home opener for the fifth consecutive year.
“It was an all-around good effort,” Deslauriers said. “When you get those odd-man rushes, things open up and I just had to put it in. That was a great pass by Shatty.”
Shattenkirk’s assist was his first point since the Stanley Cup winner signed with the Ducks, who opened a four-game homestand in their first game at Honda Center in 313 days after beginning the new season with two losses at Vegas.
Talbot stopped 27 shots in the Wild’s first loss of the season. Minnesota began the year just up the I-5 freeway in Los Angeles by rallying from a pair of two-goal deficits to win twice in the third period, becoming the first team in NHL history to pull off the feat in its first two games.
The Wild went 0 for 5 on the power play, dropping to 0 for 16 to begin the season.
“It’s the difference tonight,” Minnesota’s Zach Parise said. “We’re getting all those opportunities, good looks, but when it comes down to it, we’ve got to score on that. Three games now, and we haven’t got anything. We’re moving the puck around fine. We’re getting time in the zone, but we’ve got to get the results, especially in a game like this.”
Talbot has given up seven goals in his first three games with his new team, but the veteran made several sharp saves at Honda Center.
The Ducks were 29th in the 31-team NHL in scoring over the previous two seasons, and they’ve started the new campaign by scoring four goals in three games.
“Where we’re at, we’re concerned about everything,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “We’re concerned about how many goals we’re scoring. We’re concerned about how many goals we’re giving up. But at least on the goal there, we’ve talked about the importance of that driver going through the net. He puts pressure on the goalie and he opens up seams.”
If they hope to improve on last season’s woeful record, the Ducks might need many similar performances from Gibson, whose numbers took a dip last season while playing behind a terrible defense.
“He just looks so calm and so square and so big in the net,” Eakins said. “I always think when a goalie is playing really well, he makes big saves look really easy, and that’s certainly what he looked like tonight. He certainly dialed in. He’s faced a lot of work here early, but he’s been excellent.”
Ducks defenseman Josh Manson incurred an upper-body injury early in the game and didn’t return. He missed 19 games last season with a knee injury. Shattenkirk and Hampus Lindholm logged extra shifts in his absence.
“They all had to play a lot,” Gibson said. “I think everybody stepped up, especially on the penalty kill, blocking shots.”
The teams meet again Wednesday in Anaheim.
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