Dubnyk makes Coyle’s first-period goal stand as the winner
ST. PAUL - When the Minnesota Wild acquired goalie Devan Dubnyk last month, all he was tasked with doing was stopping pucks - and possibly saving their season. He's accomplishing the first task and maybe the second one.
ST. PAUL – When the Minnesota Wild acquired goalie Devan Dubnyk last month, all he was tasked with doing was stopping pucks – and possibly saving their season. He’s accomplishing the first task and maybe the second one.
The Wild could only muster one goal on Saturday night, but with Dubnyk in the net, one was enough.
The Minnesota goalie posted his fourth shutout in nine starts since being acquired in a Jan. 15 trade with Arizona and the Wild won their fifth in a row, 1-0 over the Colorado Avalanche.
Dubnyk, 7-1-0 with the Wild, had 18 saves and center Charlie Coyle scored the only goal.
“Our guys weathered the storm and (Dubnyk) was there when we needed him,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “He did a really good job staying in it after the first period, keeping himself sharp and keeping himself ready. Obviously, he was flawless.”
Goalie Semyon Varlamov was the lone bright spot for Colorado, which lost its second game in a row. Varlamov was tested early and often, stopping 28 shots as the Avalanche lost their fifth consecutive game in Minnesota dating to last season’s playoffs.
The win moved Minnesota ahead of Colorado and into fifth place in the Central Division. The Avalanche, who were blanked just once last season en route to winning the division title, suffered their eighth shutout of the season.
“After that first period, we got going,” Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “We were inching closer and closer and we had a couple (pucks) on the goal line, but they wouldn’t go in. Last year, everything was going in for us. This year, it’s certainly not the same. It’s just the way it is.”
Minnesota led 1-0 after 20 minutes, which was a moral victory for Colorado. The Wild outshot their guests 17-4 in the first period and got a puck past Varlamov at 11 minutes, 21 seconds.
Wild defenseman Marco Scandella’s blast from the blue line was redirected by Coyle in front of the net and past the screened goalie.
Less than a minute later, the Wild nearly made it 2-0 when left winger Jason Zucker got behind the Avalanche defense with the puck for a breakaway. Just past the blue line, with a clear path to the Colorado net, Zucker was tripped from behind by Avs defenseman Nick Holden but managed to get a shot on goal.
Zucker was not given a penalty shot, but Holden served two minutes for tripping. The Wild did not score on the power play.
“First period, we had one of our best starts,” Yeo said. “Things might have (gone) a little bit too well for us, to be honest with you. When you have a period like that and you only have a one-goal lead, it’s almost a win for them that period.”
Colorado 0 0 0- 0
Minnesota 1 0 0- 1
First Period-1, Minnesota, Coyle 7 (Scandella, Niederreiter) 11:21.
Shots on Goal-Colorado 4-5-9-18. Minnesota 17-5-7-29.
Power-play opportunities-Colorado 0 of 2. Minnesota 0 of 3.
Goalies-Colorado Varlamov 14-12-7 (29 shots-28 saves). Minnesota Dubnyk 16-6-2 (18-18).
A-19,244 (18,064). T-2:32.