ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Reaching .500 in November normally is not something to cheer about, but when you're the Mighty Ducks, it's definitely a move in the right direction.
That's why Sunday's 1-0 victory over Minnesota felt so good for the Ducks, who improved to 6-6-3-0 behind a first-period goal from rookie Stanislav Chistov and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere's first shutout this season.
"We look at it as kind of a stepping point," Duck forward Matt Cullen said of the team, which is 4-1-1 in its last six games. "We've reached .500 and now we don't want to go back below it because it's a point that is tough to get back to."
In front of an announced 14,070 at the Arrowhead Pond, Giguere put on a show, making one timely save after another to finish with 26 and frustrate the road-weary Wild, which played Saturday night at San Jose.
It was the type of effort Giguere didn't give the Ducks at the start of the season, when he opened with a 1-5-2 record and a .890 save percentage.
"I wasn't happy with the way the season started for myself," said Giguere, who has stopped 127 of 134 shots in his last four starts. "I thought that I had to bring the level of my conditioning up a little bit and I'm battling a little harder. When you do that, you make yourself luckier and a little better."
Minnesota, which in only its third season has the most points in the league with 22, had reason to be a little tired. The Wild, which completed its victory over the Sharks less than 20 hours before the start of Sunday's game, was playing the final game of a four-game West Coast trip that began Monday with a 5-2 victory over the Kings at Staples Center.
The Ducks, who have won three in a row, jumped to an early lead after Chistov, selected fifth overall in the 2001 draft, scored on the type of play that always seems to come easy for goal scorers.
Petr Sykora got the play started when he fired a shot from deep in the right corner that goaltender Manny Fernandez slapped with his stick. The puck rolled into the slot where Chistov stood alone. Then, just as Chistov wound up to shoot, Fernandez was knocked to the ice by Duck forward Andy McDonald, leaving the net open for a 1-0 Duck lead 6:35 into the first period.
"I turned and saw the puck come to me and then I shoot," Chistov said of his fourth score this season. "It was an easy goal."
Meanwhile, Giguere was on top of his game. With nearly seven minutes remaining in the second period, he made several impressive saves.
Giguere, who had given up only seven goals in his previous three starts, made consecutive stops on former Duck Richard Park and Wild defenseman Nick Schultz.
Notes: Minnesota D Lubomir Sekeras missed his third game because of a dislocated left shoulder. ... Minnesota's Matt Johnson, who received a five-minute major and an automatic ejection Saturday night at San Jose for ramming Lynn Lyons into the boards from behind, did not dress.
Minnesota 0 0 0 -- 0
Anaheim 1 0 0 -- 1
First Period--1, Anaheim, Chistov 4 (Sykora), 6:35.
Shots on goal--Minnesota 8-11-7--26. Anaheim 10-13-14--37.
Power-play opportunities--Minnesota 0 of 3; Anaheim 0 of 2.
Goalies--Minnesota, Fernandez 6-3-0 (37 shots-36 saves). Anaheim, Giguere 5-5-2 (26-26).
Wild 4, Sharks 2
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Wes Walz scored third-period goals as the surprising Minnesota Wild stayed atop the Western Conference with a 4-2 victory Saturday night over the San Jose Sharks.
Marian Gaborik scored his NHL-leading 11th goal, and Cliff Ronning also scored as the Wild improved to 10-3-2 for 22 points -- the best mark in the West for the third-year franchise built around Gaborik, a collection of gritty role players and the neutral-zone trap defense.
Captain Owen Nolan and Marcus Ragnarsson scored for the Sharks, who are expected to contend for the conference title. Instead, San Jose's desultory start was extended by another weak finish.
Bouchard, the eighth overall pick in last June's draft, got his first NHL goal by tucking Ronning's rebound past Evgeni Nabokov 1:38 into the third. Bouchard led the Quebec major junior league with 140 points in 69 games last season.
Minnesota 1 1 2 -- 4
San Jose 0 2 0 -- 2
First Period-- 1, Minnesota, Ronning 5 (Zholtok, Brunette), 3:21 (pp).
Second Period--2, San Jose, Ragnarsson 1 (Selanne), 5:32. 3, San Jose, Nolan 5 (Damphousse, Ragnarsson), 7:25 (pp). 4, Minnesota, Gaborik 11, 7:32.
Third Period--5, Minnesota, Bouchard 1 (Ronning, Zyuzin), 1:38 (pp). 6, Minnesota, Walz 4 (Brunette, Park), 3:26.
Shots on goal--Minnesota 15-8-10--33. San Jose 5-18-14--37.
Power-play opportunities--Minnesota 2 of 6; San Jose 1 of 5.
Goalies--Minnesota, Roloson 4-1-2 (37 shots-35 saves). San Jose, Nabokov 2-4-1 (33-29).
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.