Wild overcome adversity, earn hard-fought win over Blue Jackets

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) makes a save in the third period against Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday, Jan. 19. Brad Rempel / USA TODAY Sports

ST. PAUL -- Bruce Boudreau could’ve eviscerated his team earlier this week. He had every right to, especially after the Wild put forth a putrid effort in a loss to the Anaheim Ducks, who had lost 12 games in a row heading into that matchup.

Instead, for whatever reason, Boudreau chose to stay relatively positive, taking the long view on the season as a whole. The Wild responded with a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, Jan. 19, at Xcel Energy Center.

“This is a group that’s made the playoffs six years in a row,” Boudreau said. “No matter what we did, and as bad as our start was, and what our result was, I think we’re still in a playoff spot.”

Less than 12 hours after sending that message, Boudreau doubled down, trying his best to keep the mood light amid an intense 45-minute practice.

“Just trying to be positive to make them feel good about themselves,” Boudreau explained. “You can’t have the team looking like they’re down and out when they’re leaving practice.”

It’s a balancing act Boudreau constantly has to deal with throughout the season, deciding when to pat his team on the back, and when to kick his team in the butt. He usually manages to push the right buttons, though, and he did so again this week.

While slow starts have plagued the Wild for a majority of the season, they started fast, taking a two-goal lead in the first period thanks to goals from Jordan Greenway and Zach Parise. Both goals came about 90 seconds apart, with Greenway scoring on a one-timer from the left circle and Parise scoring on a wrist shot from the slot.

That was enough for Devan Dubnyk, who finished with 19 saves in the win. Whether it was a sweeping glove save early in the game, or a sprawling poke check late in the game, it was clear Dubnyk was on his game. The only shot that beat Dubnyk on this particular night was a snipe from Artemi Panarin in the second period that every goaltender in the world would’ve struggled to stop.

Now the key for the Wild will be building on this win with meaningful games against the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche coming up next week before a weeklong break.