ST. PAUL — Less than five months ago, the Anaheim Ducks fell one win short of reaching the Stanley Cup finals. Now they’re already answering questions about whether their current season is salvageable.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 15 shots for his first shutout this season to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 3-0 victory over the reeling Ducks on Saturday night.
Matt Dumba, Thomas Vanek and Ryan Carter scored to send Anaheim to its sixth loss in the first seven games.
"We’re trying to say all the right things. As a group we’re trying to encourage each other," Ducks defender Cam Fowler said. "I’d be lying if I said it was easy to stay positive right now. This is a tough go that we have but we have to stay together through it. That’s the only way we can come out on the other side."
The Ducks have scored just six goals this season while getting shut out four times.
Questions are also being asked about coach Bruce Boudreau’s job security.
"None of this is on Bruce. Bruce is a motivator. He’s a guy that sticks up for his players and someone you want to play for," Fowlwer said. "Unfortunately, when you lose in this business, the finger seems to be pointed at the coach, but as players, the responsibility is with us."
Minnesota outshot Anaheim 15-3 in the first period and 26-9 after two. The Ducks were hanging around despite getting outplayed before they took four penalties in the first 11 minutes of the second period.
"They got frustrated and ended up taking penalties and that worked in our favor, too," Carter said.
As Patrick Maroon skated out of the penalty box with 6:59 left in the second, Vanek ripped a shot past Frederik Andersen to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead.
"It’s huge," Vanek said of his fourth goal of the season. "It’s one of those games where we played well, we didn’t give up much and yet it’s 1-0. A lot of times those games can go the other way."
With 1:35 left in the second, Carter took a pass from Justin Fontaine on a short-handed 2-on-1 rush to cap the scoring.
Dumba sent a shot over Andersen’s right glove to give the Wild a 1-0 lead with 3:28 left in the first.
It was the first time the Wild beat the Ducks at home since Feb. 18, 2011. The Ducks had won 10 of their last 11 against Minnesota before this lackluster performance.
Just six days ago, the Ducks earned their only win of the season over the Wild, 4-1. Their struggles have resumed since.
"I think it mounts. Human nature would dictate that it would," Boudreau said. "And when you have chances and you don’t score it’s even magnified more. You’re holding the stick so tight and you can’t make plays."
Dubnyk spent long stretches between action on his end of the ice stretching to stay loose. The shutout was the 15th of his career, sixth with the Wild and first since Feb. 20 of last season at Edmonton.
"It’s nice, but that was a team one for sure," Dubnyk said.
Jared Spurgeon added two assists and team captain Mikko Koivu added an assist to extend his points streak to five games.
NOTES: Anaheim placed defenseman Josh Manson on injured reserve with an unspecified upper-body injury and recalled defenseman Joe Piskula from AHL San Diego before the game. … The Wild recalled defenseman Kurtis Gabriel from AHL Iowa. Gabriel did not dress on Saturday but could make his NHL debut on Sunday in Winnipeg.