The Minnesota Wild's offense has dried up in stunning fashion over the past four games.
That's been a season-long problem for the Anaheim Ducks, the NHL's lowest-scoring team that had been producing more of late before struggling to generate goals again their last time out.
Scoring might be at a premium when these teams meet Wednesday night at Honda Center to close out their three-game season series.
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The Wild's losing streak hit four with a 3-0 defeat at Nashville on Saturday as they were shut out for the second straight time. Minnesota (22-15-8), which has totaled three goals during its skid, has never been blanked in three in a row.
“We know that the one way to feel confident is to work for it, and to earn it, and we've done that in the past,” coach Mike Yeo told the team's official website. “There were certainly some good things that we could have taken out of last game. Most nights we score two, three goals the way we played the game and the chances that we created.”
The Wild outshot the Predators 13-5 in the second period and 29-25 overall. Minnesota was averaging 2.68 goals prior to the skid – 11th in the league.
“When things don't go your way, or the other goalie makes a couple of saves you start kind of thinking about it, and thinking, 'Is this going to be one of those nights, again?'” forward Jason Pominville said. “But we just have to find a way to bury some of our opportunities, and get our confidence, and get our swagger back.”
Devan Dubnyk has posted a 1.79 goals-against average in his last four games and is expected to be in net again. He beat Anaheim 3-0 at Minnesota with 15 saves in the teams' last meeting Oct. 24, snapping the Ducks' four-game win streak in the series.
Anaheim (19-18-7) took the first matchup of the season 4-1 on Oct. 18 at home and has won 10 of 12 meetings. The Wild have scored one goal in seven of those.
A 7-2-1 stretch had the Ducks finally looking like the team that came within one game of the Stanley Cup Final last season, but the lack of offense that has plagued them throughout this disappointing season returned in a 3-2 home loss to Los Angeles on Sunday.
Though it wasn't for lack of chances – Anaheim held a 16-7 shot advantage in the third period and 32-26 overall – the club essentially hit its season average of 1.95 goals – easily the worst in the league.
The Ducks, who had scored four goals in three of the previous four contests, gave up three in the second period. They are last in the league with 1.09 goals allowed in the second.
''It's frustrating, that's for sure,'' coach Bruce Boudreau said. ''I think we lead the league in fewest goals allowed in the first and third period and might be dead last in the second period. It's consistency, and we preach about it a lot. Hopefully sometime in the very near future we get that down.''
The Ducks are 4-3-0 on a homestand that concludes Wednesday.
“We're playing good teams. We're battling. We showed we could play with them,” center Andrew Cogliano said of the Kings, who hold a solid lead in the Pacific Division. “They're probably the toughest team to play in the league. … We had them on their heels a lot in the third period.”
Minnesota opened a four-game road trip Saturday and is in the midst of playing seven of eight away from home. It's dropped two straight and five of six at Honda Center.