Thomas Vanek scores twice to boost Wild over Devils
As Chris Stewart and Sean Bergenheim settle into their roles, the NHL’s hottest team is becoming even more dangerous.
Thomas Vanek scored twice, Devan Dubnyk stopped 30 shots and the Minnesota Wild beat the New Jersey Devils 6-2 on Tuesday night.
Stewart and Jared Spurgeon each had a goal and an assist, and Bergenheim and Jason Pominville also scored for the Wild.
"I think that’s Stewart’s best game that he’s played with us. I thought he was really good," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
Stewart has scored in two straight and now has four points in five games since joining Minnesota in a trade-deadline deal. Bergenheim’s goal was his first in seven games since being traded in late February.
Yeo dropped Bergenheim to the fourth line before Tuesday’s game, but emphasized that it wasn’t a demotion. Demotion or not, Bergenheim was all over the ice early in the game and played like he had something to prove.
"This was a better day. I think there’s still stuff that can be improved and I’m going to keep on working on those things," Bergenheim said.
Dubnyk improved to 19-4-1 with Minnesota while making his 26th consecutive start and the 200th of his career.
Dainius Zubrus scored his first goal in 50 games for New Jersey, and Scott Gomez scored his sixth of the season with the Devils trailing by five goals in the third.
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello had coached every game since firing Peter DeBoer in late December, but stayed in the press box on Tuesday. Adam Oates was flanked by Tommy Albelin and Scott Stevens on New Jersey’s bench during the game.
"I just wanted to watch the game from a little different area just to see something a little different," Lamoriello said. "It certainly isn’t what I would have liked to have seen up there."
Dubnyk’s 26 straight starts are the most in the NHL since Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller started 32 straight in 2011-12. Before joining Minnesota in a trade on Jan. 14, Dubnyk started just 17 games with Arizona.
Bergenheim, Stewart and Spurgeon scored in a span of 5 minutes, 39 seconds from the end of the first period into the second.
"We gave up that late one in the first and that early one in the second and kind of got on our heels a little bit," New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene said.
Minnesota wasn’t penalized for just the sixth time in team history and the fourth time at home. A total of 14 different players had points for the Wild, whose 81 points are the most in team history through 67 games.
"I thought we played a solid game, didn’t give up too much early on, had some good looks," Vanek said. "And Dubey was being Dubey. It was great."
After Zubrus made it 3-1, Vanek beat Cory Schneider at 13:01 of the second and the Devils were on their way to just their third regulation loss in 11 games.
Schneider was pulled at 1:18 of the third after Pominville’s goal. He finished with 25 saves.
"We got to be stronger for Schneids for sure because he’s been awesome all year for us," Gomez said.
NOTES: Wild D Marco Scandella missed his fifth straight game with an upper body injury and is expected to be out through the weekend. … Bryce Salvadore (back) and Ryan Clowe (concussion) joined the Devils in Minnesota and will be with the team for the entire three-game road trip even though both players are out for the season. … Injured Wild forwards Jason Zucker (clavicle),Ryan Carter (upper body) and Matt Cooke (sports hernia) all skated Tuesday morning. Cooke and Carter are a couple weeks away from returning, Zucker could be back for the playoffs if the Wild qualify. … New Jersey has allowed six or more goals in four games this season. It’s the sixth time Minnesota has notched at least six goals.