Preview: Wild vs. Ducks
The turmoil surrounding the Anaheim Ducks’ awful start has carried over into a road trip that reportedly will be the deciding factor in whether or not coach Bruce Boudreau keeps his job.
He doesn’t have to go back too far for a reminder of how well his club is capable of playing.
Anaheim looks to beat the Minnesota Wild for the second time in a week as it makes the second stop on a five-game trip Saturday night.
The Ducks’ six goals during their 1-4-1 start are by far the fewest in the league, with half of them coming from defensemen. They were blanked three times in their first four and had another listless performance in Thursday’s 5-1 loss to Nashville.
"We’re trying to work hard and do all the right things," forward Corey Perry said. "Eventually it’s going to break."
It appeared the Ducks put their scoring woes behind them Sunday when they beat Minnesota 4-1 at home, winning for the 10th time in the last 11 meetings. They couldn’t build on that effort to begin the trip, though, and Boudreau could be on the hot seat.
Anaheim was the popular preseason pick to win the Stanley Cup after falling to Chicago in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals last season, but the slow start reportedly has caused general manager Bob Murray to lose his patience.
The Ducks’ power play is 1 for 18, while Perry and Ryan Getzlaf have one assist apiece.
"When you are having trouble scoring and the other team gets that first goal, you’ve got to dig deeper," Boudreau said. "We sort of felt a little sorry for ourselves for the next little bit."
They won’t get any sympathy from a Wild team looking to avenge its only regulation loss. Minnesota (4-1-1) has played one-goal games in its other five, including Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Columbus that snapped a two-game skid.
The Wild hung on against a winless Blue Jackets team debuting new coach John Tortorella after being outshot 13-6 in the first 20 minutes. Zach Parise scored his sixth goal in the opening period before Nino Niederreiter and Thomas Vanek had goals in the second.
Minnesota has been outshot in the first period in each of its last three.
"I just feel like we talked so much about how hard they were going to come out and how hard they were going to play, I don’t know if we psyched ourselves out or what but it was a pretty ugly start for us," Parise said. "But we were able to turn the page and be a better team in the second period."
Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves to improve to 4-1-0 despite having a mediocre .896 save percentage. Dubnyk is 1-4-1 with a 2.33 goals-against average in his last six against the Ducks, and he’ll get the start in the first of a back-to-back set.
Anton Khudobin has started each of the previous two for Anaheim ahead of Frederik Andersen, who has a 1.56 GAA in three starts and one relief appearance.
Boudreau gave Khudobin another chance after beating the Wild, but it seems likely he’ll go back to Andersen as the Ducks look to win a seventh straight meeting in Minnesota.