Burdened with a franchise-record losing streak, the Anaheim Ducks got a spark after a roster makeover. The Minnesota Wild were left reeling after the trade of a popular teammate.
John Gibson made 37 saves for his second shutout of the season, Adam Henrique and Rickard Rakell scored 11 seconds apart in the first period and the re-tooled Ducks snapped a franchise-record 12-game losing streak by beating the Wild 3-0 on Thursday night.
Brian Gibbons added his second goal of the season for Anaheim, which made four trades in the previous three days.
“I think you lose 12 in a row, you need to change something,” Gibson said. “I’m not saying anything about the guys that moved or anything like that, but I think you get new players, you get some new faces, you get some new energy in here and it helped us and we fed off that. We needed a change, and tonight it worked out and we have to keep going with it.”
The Ducks added forwards Devin Shore and Derek Grant, and defenseman Michael Del Zotto in a series of deals, along with receiving minor league forward Justin Kloos in an exchange with Minnesota.
“Hopefully, we hit a few buttons that can give ourselves some life here and some momentum that we can carry this forward,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said of the win.
Alex Stalock allowed three goals on eight shots for the Wild before being pulled in favor of Devan Dubnyk, who stopped 15 shots after he was expected to get another night of rest.
Minnesota has also been busy making deals. Earlier Thursday, Minnesota traded forward Nino Niederreiter to the Carolina Hurricanes for center Victor Rask. Pontus Aberg played his first game for the Wild after being acquired from Anaheim for Kloos.
“Yeah, a guy was traded mid-afternoon and they find out at 4 o’clock or what have you,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But our job is our job. I mean, we’re professionals. Trades happen. They had six transactions and I didn’t see them worrying about it.”
The Ducks started quickly in this one as Henrique scored his eighth goal of the season just 3:57 into the game. Just 11 seconds later, Shore drove the net and had the puck poked away by Stalock. But the loose puck when right to Rakell in front and he had an open net for his ninth goal of the season.
Shore was playing his second game with Anaheim since being acquired from Dallas.
Gibbons scored less than four minutes later, tipping a shot from the point from defenseman Andy Welinkski and ending Stalock’s night.
“Sometimes that’s all it takes,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. “You get young guys in the lineup and they play with energy and they did their job great tonight.”
Dubnyk, the Wild’s All-Star representative, had started 16 of 17 games before Stalock led Minnesota to a win against Los Angeles on Tuesday with 31 saves. Boudreau said Dubnyk was feeling tired and tried to give his top netminder another night off Thursday.
“We’ve got to start winning or it’s more stuff like that is going to happen,” Minnesota forward Zach Parise said of the trades. “You never want to be in that position where you’re putting yourself in a spot where they have to make that decision and all of a sudden you have to start getting rid of players. It’s a tough spot to be in and I just hope that we can rebound and climb ourselves back in.”