ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) In overtime, defenseman Matt Dumba takes the ice to give the Minnesota Wild an offensive boost. That’s exactly what he did on Saturday.
Dumba scored 39 seconds into overtime to give the Wild a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
After Devan Dubnyk stopped Alex Pietrangelo’s point-blank slap shot, Dumba corralled the rebound to start the game-winning rush. When he crossed the blue line, Dumba fed the puck across the ice to Charlie Coyle, who feathered a return pass that Dumba chipped past Blues goalie Jake Allen for his second goal this season.
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”There’s only three guys out there, so you might as well get it moving up ice,” Dumba said. ”It just worked that Charlie was coming with me. I was able to get it to him, and after that, it was kind of a blur.”
Dumba is one of Minnesota’s fastest skaters, which led to coach Bruce Boudreau’s decision to start him alongside Coyle and defenseman Jonas Brodin in the 3-on-3 overtime.
”Matt looked like he was shot out of a cannon when he picked up the puck,” Boudreau said.
Dubnyk stopped 41 of 42 shots for the Wild, who were facing the Blues at home for the first time since losing a five-game series to them in the first round of the playoffs last spring.
”This is what we’re about,” said Dubnyk, who was in the net for a 6-3 loss to the Blues on Nov. 25. ”As long as we keep their score low, we’ve showed that we can score in flurries on the other end.”
Allen made 24 saves for the Blues, whose defense had been struggling of late. St. Louis had allowed 31 goals in its previous nine games, but coach Mike Yeo liked much of what he saw on Saturday, despite his team losing its third straight.
”It’s something to build off of. That’s the main thing,” Yeo said. ”I feel like we’ve kind of been on and off, and on and off, and a little bit more off than on lately. This is a little bit better picture of what our game looks like.”
Minnesota struck first when defenseman Ryan Suter scored a wraparound goal at 4:26 of the first period. Suter tracked down a rebound that had caromed behind the net and banked the puck off Allen’s left skate as he scrambled to get back into position at the left post.
It was the fourth time in five games that the Blues have surrendered a goal in the first 5 minutes.
Marcus Foligno had a golden opportunity to double Minnesota’s lead midway through the second period when he deked a Blues defender and found himself alone in the high slot. His wrist shot hit the post.
St. Louis took advantage about four minutes later, when Patrik Berglund tied the game on the power play. With Dumba in the penalty box for hooking, the Blues put heavy pressure on the Wild net. Dubnyk turned aside a series of shots, tips and rebounds, but Berglund finally beat him with a clean wrist shot from the top of the left circle.
Berglund missed the Blues’ first 24 games while recovering from shoulder surgery. He made his season debut on Wednesday and scored his first goal of the year on Friday against the Kings.
”The goal was to get the first one out of the way early,” said Berglund, who scored a career-high 23 goals last year.
Minnesota had given up just two goals in 35 power-play opportunities at home going into the game, the second-best home penalty kill in the league. The Wild killed four out of five penalties on Saturday.
”When your goaltender’s your best penalty killer, you usually succeed, and that’s exactly what happened tonight,” Boudreau said.
It didn’t hurt to get two goals from defensemen, either.
”We’re just trying to join more,” Dumba said. ”The forwards are more alert that we are coming and trying to shoot as many pucks as we can. They’re doing a great job of getting it to us.”
NOTES: Minnesota improved its overtime record to 2-3 this year, while the Blues lost for the second time in six overtime decisions. … D Nate Prosser played his first game of the season with Minnesota. The Minnesota native spent the first eight years of his career with the Wild before signing with the Blues in the offseason. St. Louis waived Prosser earlier this week, and the Wild claimed him on Wednesday. … Wild D Jared Spurgeon is expected to miss at least the next four games recovering from a strained groin. … The Blues, who lost to the Kings in St. Louis on Friday night, are now 4-1-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season. … Saturday’s game was the first time this season that St. Louis played a game when it wasn’t leading the Central Division. Winnipeg took over first place on Friday night when it beat Vegas.