Devan Dubnyk has received plenty of credit for helping to power the hottest team in the NHL, but the Minnesota Wild’s offensive surge has also played a major role.
The Wild try for their seventh consecutive home victory and 14th in 18 games overall when they face the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.
Minnesota (31-21-7) trailed Dallas 1-0 on Sunday before scoring six goals in the third period, giving them a 6-2 win and the most productive period in team history.
"When we’ve been playing as well as we are and winning the games we have, we just believe we can do it in here," Dubnyk told the Wild’s official website after making 18 saves. "We hadn’t been playing our best in the first two periods, and we knew if we upped our game just a little bit, we’d be OK. We upped our game a lot."
Minnesota has gone 13-2-2 since Jan. 15 – the day Dubnyk made his Wild debut – with an NHL-best 1.59 goals per game allowed in the span. He made 18 saves in a 7-0 win at Buffalo in that first game, a contest that also highlighted what’s been another key component in the club’s hot stretch.
The Wild have averaged 3.24 non-shootout goals in the last 17 games – among the top 10 marks in the league – while scoring four or more seven times. They averaged 2.64 in the first 42 contests.
Minnesota has surged into playoff position, passing Calgary and San Jose for the second Western Conference wild-card spot and moving within two of Winnipeg for the first.
”It felt like for the longest time we were winning and not going anywhere,” forward Zach Parise said. ”It’s a long way to go, but you’ve got to get in sometime and somehow, and it’s nice to be back in.”
Parise scored his 24th and 25th goals Sunday to give him four points in two games.
Dubnyk has posted five shutouts with Minnesota, one of which came Friday against Edmonton (17-34-10), for which he played from 2009-14. Justin Fontaine scored twice and the Oilers were limited to 15 shots in a 4-0 Wild victory.
Dubnyk, expected to make his 18th straight start for Minnesota on Tuesday, is 5-0-0 with a 0.79 GAA against his former club.
"We played against a team that is good defensively and playing very well right now," Edmonton interim coach Todd Nelson said. "They made us work for everything that we got, which wasn’t much."
The Oilers followed that defeat with a 2-1 loss to Anaheim on Sunday, dropping it to 4-23-9 against West opponents.
The Wild have limited opponents to 25.8 shots on goal in the past 17 games – lowest in the NHL – and Edmonton is near the bottom of the league with 27.8 shots per game for the season.
Oiler defenseman Jeff Petry is expected to return Monday after missing two games with an injury. He’ll likely play in front of Ben Scrivens, who has started the last three with Viktor Fasth sidelined due to a knee injury.
The Wild have gone 4-0-1 in their last five meetings with Edmonton and 8-1-1 in the previous 10, though they’ve dropped two of the past three in Minnesota. Both of the teams’ matchups this season have come at Rexall Place.