Road reaction: Wild 1, Flames 0
Devan Dubnyk has rewarded the Minnesota Wild’s efforts to trade for the tall goaltender from the Arizona Coyotes.
Dubnyk, acquired by Minnesota on Jan. 14 for a 2015 third-round draft pick, recorded his second shutout in six games with the Wild on Thursday night as Minnesota earned an important regulation win with a 1-0 victory against the Calgary Flames.
Dubnyk made 30 saves and Zach Parise scored for the Wild, who are 4-1-1 in the six games since trading for Dubnyk. In the six games, all starts, Dubnyk is 4-1-0 with a 1.66 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.
And Dubnyk was needed Thursday. In a close game, Dubnyk made several highlight saves in the third period, including stopping rookie sensation Johnny Gaudreau with a glove save and later stoning Paul Byron, who came in alone on a breakaway.
In the final seconds, with the Flames pressuring with an extra skater, Dubnyk made a toe save on Calgary’s Mikael Backlund.
Minnesota, which is 8-2-1 in the last 11 games against the Flames, is now just five points behind Calgary, which currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
1. Dubnyk, G, Wild: Who else? The Wild were tied for last in the NHL in save percentage when Dubnyk arrived. The longtime Edmonton goaltender had struggled in 2013-14 and was eventually traded, but found his game in Arizona, where he was 9-5-2 with a .916 save percentage and 2.72 goals-against average. He has been even better with Minnesota. He made 18 saves for a shutout in his Wild debut and Thursday might have been his best game in a Minnesota sweater.
2. Jonas Hiller, G, Flames: Dubnyk had to make every save because Hiller was equally as good on the other side. Hiller had temporarily lost his spot as Calgary’s No. 1 goaltender but he’s earned it back with three straight strong outings. Hiller stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced against the Wild, who were well used to Hiller, the former Anaheim Ducks goaltender.
3. Parise, F, Wild: There were plenty of standouts for Minnesota on Thursday, including defenseman Marco Scandella and forwards Jason Zucker and Jason Pominville, who combined for 11 shots on the second line. But Parise continued his scoring to provide the winning margin. Parise scored his 20th goal of the season and has six goals in the past six games.
Thomas Vanek caused a turnover in the Calgary zone and Parise picked up the loose puck and was all alone in against Hiller. Parise skated across, waiting out Hiller, before scoring the lone goal of the game in the first period.
Seen: Wild head coach Mike Yeo rotated his defensemen liberally. Yeo started the game with the usual top-two pairings with Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin together and Scandella and Jared Spurgeon continuing to play together. But as the game progressed, Yeo split the top two pairs and often rotated.
Matt Dumba saw some time with Suter and Scandella. Nate Prosser, who started the game with Dumba, saw time with Jonas Brodin. Scandella could also be seen on the ice with Dumba and Prosser. Dumba was, at times, seeing time specifically on offensive zone faceoffs.
Said: "You could kind of feel it was just going to be one of those games. Hiller is making save after save at the other end, so I know I’m going to have to keep up. That’s a game coming down to the end that’s so important to get that win in regulation. It feels real good to hang on there." — Dubnyk
Next: After a couple of days off, Minnesota finishes its three-game swing through Western Canada with an early-afternoon game Sunday at Vancouver. The former division rivals will be reunited where the Wild are 12-16-9 all-time at Vancouver. Minnesota won the season series, 2-1, against the Canucks last season.
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