Cam Talbot did as much as he could to keep the Wild in it on Monday night at Honda Center. He stood on his head for 60 minutes of play, finishing with 26 saves on the night.
It’s safe to say Talbot wishes he would’ve finished with 27 saves. The only shot that beat him proved to be the difference as the Wild suffered a 1-0 shutout loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
For the Wild, it marks their first loss of the season after earning a pair of comeback wins over the Los Angeles Kings last week.
There was no comeback on this particular night. Not with goaltender John Gibson in net for the Ducks. He finished with 34 saves and put the finishing touches on his shutout with a couple of big saves down the stretch.
That spoiled a solid night from Talbot with his teammates kicking themselves for not providing him with some goal support.
“We are trying to score,” Matt Dumba said. “Believe me. We want it to go in the net. Sometimes it doesn’t happen like that. We just have to put our heads down and get to work.”
As good as Gibson was throughout the game, the Wild have nobody but themselves for the loss. They left a couple of goals on the ice by failing to capitalize on a number of Grade As scoring chances.
Victor Rask started the scoring struggles early in the first period following a perfect pass from Zach Parise. He had a wide-open net to work with and sailed the puck 10 feet over the crossbar.
That was the story of the first period for the Wild as Marcus Foligno, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Nick Bjugstad all failed to bury scoring chances from in close.
On the other end of the ice, Talbot singlehandedly kept the Wild in it with a few big saves of his own, continuing to be a calming presence in the crease.
“I knew it was going to be a couple of games before I really got fully comfortable behind this group with no exhibition games,” Talbot said. “This is as good as I’ve felt so far. Just going to try to build off that.”
That impressive play for Talbot carried over into the second period with his best saves coming against Sonny Milano on a breakaway and Cam Fowler from alone in the slot.
Meanwhile, the Wild continued to struggle on the power play with coach Dean Evason trying a couple of new combinations to no avail. For the season, the Wild are now an abysmal 0 for 16 on the power play, and their lack of confidence is palpable.
“We have to score on that,” Parise said. “It’s three games now and we haven’t got anything. We are moving the puck around fine. We are getting time in the zone. We have to get the results. Especially in a game like this.”
That lack of finish eventually caught up to the Wild in the third period as Nicolas Deslauriers beat Talbot to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. The sequence started with an odd-man rush up the ice and ended with Deslauriers burying a cross-ice feed from Kevin Shattenkirk.
There wasn’t much Talbot could’ve done and that proved to be the difference with the way Gibson was playing on the other end.
“He was one save better than me tonight,” Talbot said. “We were kind of going back and forth. You knew it was going to come down to a goal when the goalies are playing like that. He got the best of me tonight.”
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