Joseph Cramarossa scored the opening (and only) goal of the game 4:38 into the opening period. The rookie winger found himself with Perry and Rakell mid-change and took full advantage of the opportunity. Corey Perry was able to throw the puck on net from the corner, which caught Devin Dubnyk off guard. The Wild goaltender seemed to be stuck halfway in the VH position. It is not exactly the easiest of tactics for controlling those shots thus leading to Cramarossa’s easy tap in. The shift immediately after, Dubnyk elected for the reverse VH for a safer approach.
The Wild were able to get the majority of the dangerous scoring chances in the opening twenty minutes. It helped that they were able to force the Ducks into taking two minor penalties. During the Ducks first penalty kill, they gave up four shots against and plenty of grade-A scoring chances. After a period of play, the Wild led in shots by the count of 13-8.
In rather normal Anaheim Ducks fashion, the Minnesota Wild came out flying to start the second frame. For that matter, it was the entire second period. The Ducks only managed to get 4 shots for a total of 12 in the first 40 minutes of the game. As one would expect after seeing those numbers, the Wild completely dominated every facet of the period. Minnesota fired 16 more shots on Gibson for a total of 29.
If it were not for a great performance by Gibson, Anaheim would be nowhere near the lead. It would have been a great sight to see the Ducks play at least a shift or two in the Minnesota zone, but the skaters seemed intent on letting Gibson carry the burden against Boudreau’s aggressive hockey club. Carlyle’s team was lucky enough to get through the period unscathed.
By some sort of miracle, the Ducks still carried a 1-0 lead into the third period.
In one of the strangest situations of the road trip, Anaheim did not look horrible in the third. Viewers would expect to see the team sit back and turtle harder than Pistachio in the Master of Disguise, but somehow they managed to outshoot the Wild. However, it did take a full six minutes for them to get their first on the Wild net. Anaheim outshot Minnesota 11-8 in the period and created some dangerous chances against Dubnyk.
The Ducks may be without Antoine Vermette for some time after the veteran center slashed a linesman. That is usually frowned upon. He was immediately given a game misconduct and sent to the locker room. Vermette should expect a call from the league in the near future for that poorly thought-out action, and could very likely be suspended for some time.
All in all, the Ducks only won this game because of John Gibson. He stopped all 37 shots he saw even though he looked exhausted for much of the game. It is tough to imagine where the Ducks would be this season with their current offensive output and without their #1 goalie. I am not a GM, but if I were Murray it would seem pretty clear to me that it is time to acquire some scoring threat.
Anaheim will be back in action on Friday at home against the Florida Panthers.