The Wild could repair two weeks of up-and-down play that spiraled into the team’s longest losing streak of the season with just one period.
That’s how coach Bruce Boudreau set up the third and final frame Tuesday, as a chance at redemption, and the catalyst for the solid 20 minutes that ensued was the one player Boudreau figured wanted to seize that opportunity the most.
Goalie Devan Dubnyk.
“And he did,” Boudreau said.
Dubnyk turned aside 14 shots in the final frame to seal a 3-2 win over the Canucks at Rogers Arena that nixed the Wild’s three-game slide.
It was Dubnyk’s first win since Nov.15, which also came against Vancouver. He racked up 29 total saves.
“As long as you just stick with the process and those little things that I know I need to do,” Dubnyk said, “then I’ll be OK. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t get harder and harder to do that as things continue and you don’t get the wins and pucks are going in this way and that way. It becomes more and more of a challenge to do, but you just gotta find a way to do it. Otherwise, things do slow down and then pucks start going in that shouldn’t be going in and that’s the last thing you need.”
Although Dubnyk was steady, the players in front of him were sound, too.
Despite giving up the first goal, the Wild settled into an even rhythm. And when an opportunity to capitalize presented itself, the team pounced – scoring on all three of its power-play opportunities.
The penalty kill also delivered, going 3-for-3.
“Special teams won us the game,” Boudreau said.
Winger Jason Zucker was responsible for one of those power-play tallies, while winger Mikael Granlund was the architect of two in the span of 55 seconds in the second period – an outburst that flipped a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead for the Wild.
Overall, his line with Zucker and center Eric Staal combined for four points.
“Lately we’ve been getting a lot of chances,” Granlund said. “It’s all about trying to keep it up and getting better.”
Perhaps it’s not a surprise that the Wild would end up recalibrating on the road.
The team has had almost as much success as the visitor as it’s secured as the host this season.
This was the Wild’s seventh road victory; it has eight on home ice.
“I think we play really hard on the road, the whole 60 minutes,” Granlund said. “A lot of battles [and] keep it simple. So I don’t think we’ve been doing a good job at home with that. Let’s hope we can build off something here.”