EditorsNote: Changes has to “had” in second word in graf 3; other minor edits
Devan Dubnyk turned aside all 22 shots he faced and Joel Eriksson Ek scored in his return from injured reserve as the Minnesota Wild skated to a 3-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday in Saint Paul, Minn.
Luke Kunin also tallied in the second period and set up Eric Staal’s empty-net goal in the third as the Wild enter the NHL’s holiday break on a 12-4-4 run.
Minnesota had allowed 19 goals over the previous four games (1-3-0) but answered a 6-0 shellacking by Winnipeg in its last contest with a sterling performance against Calgary.
Dubnyk was making his third appearance following a pronounced absence due to a serious health issue involving his wife, Jennifer. The 33-year-old followed up a relief appearance against the Jets by turning aside all seven shots he faced in the third period to preserve his first shutout of the season and 32nd of his career.
Derek Ryan appeared to spoil Dubnyk’s shutout bid with 6:01 remaining in the third period, but officials deemed that the forward kicked the puck into the net.
Eriksson Ek made an immediate impact in his return from an upper-body injury sustained in a 4-1 victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 14. The 22-year-old Swede absorbed a hit in the corner before returning to his feet and skating to the slot to convert a centering feed from Kevin Fiala to open the scoring 4:51 into the second period.
Eriksson Ek’s goal was his third of the season, while Fiala’s assist was his fifth point in his last six games. It also marked the first time in five home games that the Wild have scored the first goal of the contest.
Kunin doubled the advantage just under five minutes later with his ninth goal of the season and second in three games. The 22-year-old unleashed a one-timer past Cam Talbot following Jordan Greenway’s wraparound pass from below the goal line.
Talbot turned aside 31 of 33 shots for the Flames, who have dropped four of their last five (1-3-1).
—Field Level Media