ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Even after a rough few months, the Anaheim Ducks are still among the teams jockeying for playoff positioning in the Western Conference.
Ryan Miller made 31 saves for his 44th career shutout as the Ducks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-0 Tuesday night for their third win in four games. Jakob Silfverberg, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler and Hampus Lindholm scored to help Anaheim pull three points behind the Wild for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
Anaheim’s newfound confidence comes after the team lost seven in a row and eight of nine.
“I think when you stick together through a time like we went through, you come out of it on the other side a closer team and a better team because of it,” Kesler said.
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Miller got his second win in two starts since returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for 24 games. His latest came two days after he set the all-time wins record for a U.S.-born goalie with a victory over Washington. He now has 376 for his career.
Devan Dubnyk finished with 20 saves in Minnesota’s fifth straight loss. The Wild have been shut out in consecutive games for the first time all season and haven’t scored in the last 156 minutes.
“It’s obviously frustrating. We need to find ways to score goals,” Wild defenseman Ryan Suter said. “You can’t win games if you don’t score goals.”
The Wild remained one point ahead of Chicago, Vancouver and Colorado, with Arizona tied with Anaheim another two points back.
Anaheim took advantage of the first penalty of the game with a power-play goal early in the second. Silfverberg managed to find the loose puck in front of Dubnyk and got his 16th goal at 4:22. The play was set up by a backhand from Devin Shore. Dubnyk made the initial save but couldn’t corral the rebound. A scrum in front of the net ensured before Silfverberg put it in.
Minnesota appeared to tie it at 6:29 of the third as Mikael Granlund poked the puck past Miller on a delayed penalty but the play was whistled dead.
“It was just one of those plays I got the benefit of the doubt, I guess,” Miller said. “The hockey gods put me out for 10 weeks, so this is a little bit of retribution.”
Anaheim’s penalty kill was put to the test in the third period. The Ducks were called for three penalties in the period but managed to kill off all three. Minnesota had the man-advantage for six minutes in just under a nine-minute span in the period but couldn’t score.
“I didn’t think we paid the price to win. Simple as that,” said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, who ended his postgame press conference after just two questions. “You gotta get to the front of the net. You gotta get the dirty goals.”
Minnesota’s penalty kill unit continued to struggle. Silfverberg’s goal was the 15th power-play goal allowed in the Wild’s last 13 games. That included a pair given up against St. Louis on Sunday.
Perry, Kesler and Lindholm scored in a 4:35 span to make it 4-0 with just over a minute left.
NOTES: Linesman Devin Berg left the game early in the first period after getting hit by a puck just below the waist on a dump-in by Minnesota’s Jason Zucker. Berg remained down momentarily before being helped off the ice and did not return to the game. … Wild C Matt Hendricks (upper body) missed his third straight game due to injury. … Ducks RW Daniel Sprong was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.
Ducks: At Calgary on Friday night.
Wild: At New York Rangers on Thursday night.
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