Wild G Dubnyk extends shutout streak, blanks Flyers
SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Not content to stop most of the shots that are sent his way, Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been stopping all of them lately.
Dubnyk’s career- and franchise-record shutout streak continued on Tuesday as the Wild beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. Dubnyk stopped all 30 shots he faced for his third consecutive shutout, running his streak without giving up a goal to 195:05.
“It’s been good. I feel confident in there,” said Dubnyk, who has now stopped the past 106 shots he has faced, and for good measure added an assist on the Wild’s third goal. “The biggest key for me is just finding pucks and making sure my feet are set. That kind of trickles down into everything else as far as moving around and rebound control and all that stuff... And the guys were doing a good job of letting me see it and that certainly helps as well.”
Left winger Nino Niederreiter scored on Minnesota’s first shot of the game. Eric Staal and Jason Zucker added empty-net goals as the Wild ran their winning streak to three in a row.
For the Flyers, Brian Elliott had 17 saves, but Philadelphia has now been blanked in three of its last six games. They lost 1-0 to the Wild at home on Saturday night.
Fans had barely taken their seats after the national anthem concluded when Niederreiter, playing in his 400th career NHL game, ripped a low wrist shot past Elliott just 12 seconds into the game. It came off a pass from below the goal line by Staal.
“We can’t get scored on that early, first shift of the game,” said Elliott, who fell to 6-5-1 this season. “They caught us maybe a little asleep to start and the first forecheck they create a chance like that and then we’re fighting from behind, you don’t want to do that ever.”
Zucker was on the ice for the goal, but did not score it, breaking a streak of six consecutive Minnesota goals he had scored over the previous three games.
“I‘m glad somebody else scored,” joked Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. “All year we talk about we’re not a one-man team. We don’t have Wayne Gretzky out there so we have to do everything by committee. The previous couple games, yeah Zuck had great games but we need contributions from everybody to succeed.”
The Flyers mustered six shots on Dubnyk in the first period, but turned up the intensity after the first intermission, sending 17 shots at the Minnesota net in the second period.
“For sure in the second period we generated a lot of really good opportunities and came up empty handed after that,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “That can get frustrating for sure for the players but you’ve got to keep a strong mental mind-set and go back at it.”
At the other end of the rink, Elliott wasn’t quite as busy, but did stop a breakaway by Wild left winger Tyler Ennis in the opening two minutes of the third to hold Minnesota to a one-goal lead.
Just a short time later, Dubnyk matched Elliott’s effort, thwarting Flyers left winger Dale Weise on a breakaway that would have tied the game.
“I think when I was opposing Minnesota the past seven years, you always came into the game knowing it was going to be hard generating chances,” said Ennis, who came to Minnesota in a trade with Buffalo over the summer. “And when there were chances, it was going to be hard to score on Dubnyk. Now that I‘m a part of the team, it’s fun being on this side of it.”
Dubnyk last allowed a goal in the Wild’s 4-2 loss in Toronto on Nov. 8.
NOTES: Flyers C Nolan Patrick was in attendance Tuesday but was scratched for the ninth consecutive game because of lingering effects from a concussion. The second overall pick in last summer’s NHL draft has a goal and two assists in nine games. ... To commemorate Hockey Fights Cancer night, the Wild introduced former Minnesota North Stars tough guy Jack Carlson, who is a recent cancer survivor, prior to the game. ... The Wild stay at home for their next game, hosting Nashville on Thursday night. The Flyers western road swing continues as they visit Winnipeg on Thursday.