ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Anaheim Ducks scored all their goals at even strength against the Minnesota Wild, which was critical for the NHL’s lowest-scoring team — especially against a club that doesn’t give up many power-play opportunities.
Rickard Rakell scored the go-ahead goal with 6:19 left in the third period and rookie John Gibson made 25 saves, leading the Ducks to a 3-1 victory Wednesday night.
It was the third time in four games that the Ducks scored at least three even-strength goals, after a 16-game stretch in which they managed no more than two in any of them.
"We knew we weren’t going to get a lot of power plays, so we tried not to take many penalties ourselves," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We thought one was possible, but we didn’t think we’d get more. We got three goals from three different lines, which was good."
Anaheim had only one crack with the man advantage, when Zach Parise went off for holding at 4:41 of the second period. The Wild have been short-handed fewer than three times in each of their last eight games. They began the day second in the league in fewest penalty minutes per game (6.0) and fewest times short-handed (107).
Chris Stewart also scored for the Ducks, who are 11-2-0 in their last 13 games against Minnesota. Jakob Silfverberg added an empty-net goal with 49 seconds remaining.
Jarret Stoll scored for the Wild, who have lost five in a row. Devan Dubnyk stopped 24 shots.
"We had chances tonight, but right now that’s just not enough for a win," center Mikael Granlund said. "It’s not easy, and it’s not fun. But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We need to keep doing things better and find a way to get a win."
Rakell finished off a slick passing play with Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon, beating Dubnyk from the right of the net for his 10th goal. Before that, Perry was the only player on the Ducks’ roster in double digits.
"It was a pretty sloppy game, and it ended up with a beautiful goal," Boudreau said. "I think that was the first time the whole game that we had more than two passes on somebody’s stick. We counted them up, and there were four. So we thought, `Whoa, four passes in a row. That’s awesome.’"
Stewart tied it 1-all at 1:46 of the first when he redirected Shea Theodore’s 50-foot wrist shot over Dubnyk’s glove. Theodore, a 20-year-old defenseman promoted from San Diego of the AHL on Dec. 28 after Cam Fowler sprained his right knee, has four points in his last four games.
"They’re giving me more minutes and that makes me more comfortable out there," Theodore said. "I feel comfortable and I’m making good decisions. I feel like I’m playing some of the best hockey that I’ve played. I’m just going to try to keep it up."
Neither team had a shot on net during the first 6 1/2 minutes. The Wild scored on their second one, when Stoll beat Gibson to the stick side with a 35-foot wrist shot from the slot at 6:48 after Rakell lost the puck to Erik Haula while falling down inside the Anaheim blue line.
Stoll ended a goal drought for the Wild of 127 minutes, 36 seconds, since Thomas Vanek scored with 52 seconds left in a 3-2 loss to Buffalo on Jan. 12. Minnesota had lost its previous two games, 1-0 to Winnipeg and 3-0 at Nashville.
The Wild have never been shut out in three straight regular-season games during the franchise’s 15-year history. But the Ducks blanked them in the first three games of the 2003 Western Conference finals behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who stopped all 98 shots he faced.
Minnesota was 0 for 3 on the power play. The Wild are 1 for 32 over their last 16 games, and have had no more than three opportunities with the man advantage in any of their last eight games.
"When we’ve been playing our best this year, it’s because we’ve been controlling the neutral zone defensively," Boudreau said. "If you’re not going to score a lot of goals, there are so many teams with such good speed in this league now that you have to slow them down between the blue lines."
The Ducks, who came in with a league-best 88.9 penalty-killing percentage, have allowed just two goals in 37 short-handed situations over their last 11 games. The stretch included franchise-record streaks of eight games and 34 penalty kills.
NOTES: Stoll, who helped Los Angeles win Stanley Cup titles in 2012 and 2014, returns to Staples Center on Thursday night for the first time since leaving the Kings as a free agent. … The Ducks completed their longest homestand of the season 5-3-0 and will play 11 of their next 13 on the road. … Granlund has one goal in his last 27 games, an empty-netter. … Anaheim D Hampus Lindholm played in his 200th regular-season game on his 22nd birthday. … Vanek and Perry are among three players from the 2003 draft with at least 300 goals. The other is Carolina C Eric Staal.