Dubnyk makes 15 saves, Wild beat road-weary Jets 3-1
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Devan Dubnyk has been one of the best goalies in the NHL lately. Good thing for the Minnesota Wild, too, because they haven’t provided him with much offense.
Dubnyk got a little more help Wednesday night as the Wild earned a 3-1 victory over the road-weary Winnipeg Jets.
Mikko Koivu, Jonas Brodin and Zach Parise scored for Minnesota, which has totaled eight goals while going 2-2-1 in the last five games. It was only the second time in 10 games that Minnesota scored at least three.
"We were able to get enough," said Parise, whose empty-net goal secured the win. "It’s kind of been the same story: Devan played really well."
Dubnyk made 15 saves and has allowed only 13 goals in his last 11 games since Oct. 25, stopping 319 of 332 shots for a 1.20 goals-against average and .961 save percentage. Among goalies to play at least eight games this season, he leads the league with a 1.55 goals-against average, .948 save percentage and four shutouts.
Yet he has just eight wins in 15 starts.
"He’s been great," Brodin said. "We feel confident playing in front of him. He’s really good right now."
Dubnyk credits his defense.
"We were great in our end all night. That is what we’ve been doing," he said.
Blake Wheeler scored for Winnipeg, which is 0-4 on a five-game road trip — its longest of 2016-17. The Jets have been outscored 15-5 during their worst slide of the season.
"I thought we played with the puck in their zone quite a bit, created some really good looks that their goalie made some big saves on," Wheeler said. "The bounces didn’t go our way."
Koivu scored his first goal in 11 games with 58.7 seconds left in the second period for a 1-0 lead.
Behind the net, Jason Zucker won a battle with Josh Morrissey and passed to Koivu alone in front. A wrist shot by the Wild captain beat Connor Hellebuyck.
Wheeler thought he tied the game midway through the third when a shot from Toby Enstrom went off his skate and into the net. But a video review showed Winnipeg was offside entering the zone.
Brodin made it 2-0 on the power play 79 seconds later when his slap shot from the top of the right circle went off the blade of Brandon Taney and over Hellebuyck’s blocker. It was the defenseman’s first power-play goal since Dec. 5, 2013.
"We were just about an inch shy on just about everything that happened for us tonight," Jets coach Paul Maurice said.
Wheeler scored his own power-play goal less than a minute later, swatting home the rebound of a shot by Dustin Byfuglien.
"In the third period we started to put a few more at (Dubnyk’s) feet and started to get some into that area, but he did a pretty good job at protecting that house area for sure," Morrissey said.
Dubnyk slid across the crease to rob Morrissey with 5 minutes to go in the first period and stopped Mark Scheifele in front in the opening minute of the second.
"He’s had too many of those big saves lately. That means we’re having defensive breakdowns, but we know that he’s back there and he’s going to give us those saves when we need him," Wild forward Jason Zucker said.
NOTES: Drew Stafford, a 21-goal scorer last season, returned to the Winnipeg lineup after missing 15 games with an upper-body injury. To make room, the Jets assigned C Quinton Howden to Manitoba of the AHL. … Winnipeg also placed D Tyler Myers on injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 11, with a lower-body injury. … Wild D Marco Scandella returned after missing 10 games with a high right ankle sprain. … Minnesota reassigned D Mike Reilly to Iowa of the AHL.
Jets: Friday at Nashville.
Wild: Friday against Pittsburgh.