Wild shut down Ducks in Boudreau’s return to Anaheim

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Even as the Minnesota Wild continued to pile up points in the standings in recent weeks, coach Bruce Boudreau was still concerned with some of the trends he had seen developing over the past few games.

He had to be pretty happy with the way his team played on Sunday night in his first game back in Anaheim since he he was fired by the Ducks after the 2015-16 season.

The Wild were 2-1 winners on Sunday night thanks to a clinical defensive performance that completely shut down the Ducks offense and helped Minnesota win for the 14th time in the past 16 games.

The win also allowed them to keep pace with the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division race. After Sunday the Wild remain two points behind Chicago for the top spot in the division but have still have four games in hand.

Keep in mind that Boudreau has won seven division titles in his seven full seasons as an NHL head coach, as well as his first partial season in Washington. The only year he did not win a division title in the NHL is the 2011-12 season when he was fired after 22 games in Washington and finished the season with Anaheim.

The loss for Anaheim snaps what had been a three-game winning streak and prevented them from moving into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.

After giving up at four goals in four consecutive games and five of their past six the Wild were not only able to limit the Ducks to just a single goal on Sunday, but also only 24 shots on goal. Ryan Suter, one of the featured players in Sunday’s game, had an especially strong performance in his 29 minutes of ice-time and was a key cog in the Wild’s defensive dominance.

Defensemen Matt Dumba and Jared Spurgeon provided the goals for the Wild in the win, while Ducks forward Ryan Kesler scored their lone goal.

Dumba’s goal tied the game during a 5-on-3 midway through the second period and it did not please Ducks goalie John Gibson. During the play Gibson’s mask had been knocked loose and he was clearly trying to get the attention of the referees to get a whistle. They did not oblige. Gibson did not get his whistle until Dumba’s one-timer ended up in the back of the net.