Wild, Dubnyk hold off Flyers for third shutout in a row
After three long days of anticipation and speculation as to whether Jason Zucker would match or break the NHL record for consecutive goals, it only took Nino Niederreiter 12 seconds to go on and steal his linemates thunder.
Well, streaks are meant for breaking.
Niederreiter scored just 12 seconds into the game, firing a bomb past Philadelphia goaltender Brian Elliot from center Eric Staals assist, to tie the fastest Wild goal at home with Justin Fontaine from 2013. And while the record everyone was eyeing evaded the Wild, that wasnt event he only bar the Wild set in its 3-0 victory Tuesday against the Flyers at Xcel Energy Center in front of an announced crowd of 18,768.
Zuckers six-goal run did come to an end, but he did manage an empty netter goal to end the game. Staal grabbed an empty netter before that as well.
The Wild (8-7-2) won its third consecutive game, its longest win streak of the season. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk also recorded his third consecutive shutout and his second against Philadelphia (8-8-2), whom the Wild swept in this home-and-home series. Dubnyk broke his own Wild record of 183 minutes, 16 seconds of a shutout streak that he set through four games in 2016. He now stands at 195:05 without a goal.
And he even assisted Zuckers score.
Thats a difficult team. Theyre very creative, highly skilled, and its going to be a challenge against them regardless of how you play them, Dubnyk said of Philadelphia ahead of the game. I think its a fun scenario. Theyre an Eastern conference team where you probably get a little bit of spillover, I guess, some intensity from the last game. Theyre obviously going to be upset about the result, so we need to expect that. Weve talked a lot about getting real good on home ice here, so heres an opportunity to start that.
The Wild pulled through on that promise.
Dubnyk was clearly locked in, if his 30 saves were any indication. In the second period, he denied Philadelphia center Scott Laughton with a big pad save and even snatched a puck out of mid-air that later on wasnt even counted as a shot. Dubnyk also stopped Dale Weise on a one-on-one breakaway in the third period.
The second period also saw a stellar shift from the Wilds third line. Daniel Winnik, Joel Eriksson Ek, Luke Kunin, Gustav Olofsson and Mike Reilly kept Philadelphias skaters on the ice for between two and three minutes mostly in the Wilds offensive zone. Poor Travis Konecny broke his stick and had to play empty-handed for an uncomfortable amount of time while the Wild was essentially on a power play.
That being said, the Wilds actual power play still needs work. The team failed to convert its one chance Saturday. Heading into the game, the Wild ranked 20th in the league at just 15.7 percent.
But Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said ahead of the rematch while his team wanted to sweep, he knew it would be difficult to meet Philadelphias push, especially after the first game was also a 1-0 result.
Ive come to the conclusion that every game in this league is tough, coach Bruce Boudreau said before the game. Theres no easy outs. You have Vegas at 10-4 or whatever they are as an expansion team. There are no easy outs in this league, and if we dont come prepared to play our best, were not going to win.