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game recap

Devan Dubnyk, Wild get second straight shutout

Goalie makes 38 saves to defeat Sabres; Eriksson Ek scores

by Joe Yerdon / NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- Devan Dubnyk made 38 saves for the Minnesota Wild in a 4-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Thursday.

Dubnyk got his second consecutive shutout, which included 19 saves in the second period. Dubnyk has 21 NHL shutouts, 12 with the Wild.

"It's a nice feeling to finish the road trip that way and keep the good feeling in this rink," Dubnyk said. "Unfortunately we only play here once a year but, I've said it before, this is a special place for me. It all began here with these guys so there will always be good memories."

Dubnyk's first start with the Wild came against the Sabres on Jan. 15, 2015 after he was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in a trade. That night he had an 18-save shutout in a 7-0 Wild win.

"Hopefully he can keep that going," Wild defenseman Ryan Suter said. "He's been playing pretty darn good the last couple games."

The Wild (5-2-1) went 2-1-1 on a four-game road trip. The Sabres (1-3-2) have lost three straight.

Video: MIN@BUF: Suter beats Nilsson through traffic

Joel Eriksson Ek, a rookie center, gave the Wild a 1-0 lead 4:51 into the first period. He skated up the right wing past Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe after a pass from defenseman Nate Prosser and took a wrist shot that beat Anders Nilsson over his shoulder.

Eriksson Ek has two goals and three assists in his first four NHL games.

"He's getting better every night," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "One of these days I'm going to put him on the power play. He's done everything and more that we've asked of him so far."

Jason Zucker made it 2-0 with 4:47 left in the first period. He had a partial breakaway against Nilsson after a pass from Chris Stewart and beat the goalie with a high backhand over his glove.

Suter gave the Wild a 3-0 lead 2:58 into the third period when his wrist shot from the left faceoff circle got past Nilsson over his left shoulder. Suter's third goal of the season was helped by Wild captain Mikko Koivu, who screened Nilsson. Koivu scored an empty-net goal with 1:09 left.

Nilsson made 18 saves in his second consecutive start in place of Robin Lehner (sick).

"Today, minus the first 20 minutes, we [did] what you want to do to try to get goals, didn't get it," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "We haven't gotten out to a lead. We haven't gotten the goals in this building. It certainly led to our demise."

Video: MIN@BUF: Dubnyk manages a scramble in front

 

Goal of the game

Zucker's breakaway from the blue line highlighted his speed. He accelerated through the neutral zone past Matt Moulson and between defensemen Jake McCabe and Cody Franson. Zucker then finished it with a backhand over Nilsson's glove.

Video: MIN@BUF: Zucker dashes in to score on breakaway

 

Save of the game

The Sabres got a power play 3:50 into the second period and generated four shots on goal. Dubnyk made a toe save through traffic that kept them from making it 2-1.

 

Unsung moment of the game

After the Wild penalty kill struggled early in the second period, they redeemed themselves after Jonas Brodin took a hooking penalty with 4:53 left. The Wild held the Sabres without a shot on that power play and repeatedly forced them to turn over the puck.

 

Highlight of the game

Eriksson Ek's first game-winning goal in the NHL came in the first period. He eluded a poke check from McCabe and accelerated past him before he took a wrist shot that beat Nilsson to the far top corner.

Video: MIN@BUF: Eriksson Ek snipes the top corner in 1st

 

They said it

"It's fun. It's about finding the puck and being patient. That has a lot to do with trusting the guys in front of me and trusting what's going on and who's covered. The guys have done a great job for me so far in allowing me to do my game. That makes it fun to play." -- Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk

 

"We [have] to have a short-term memory, we [have] to learn from it. But it can't affect your next game. … Our start wasn't good enough tonight, and that was the difference." -- Sabres forward Tyler Ennis

 

Video: MIN@BUF: Dubnyk slides across to stone Deslauriers

 

Need to know

Every skater who has played for the Wild this season has scored a point. … Minnesota's penalty kill improved to 95.7 percent after it held Buffalo to 0-for-2… Wild defenseman Marco Scandella left the game with 10:42 to go in the first period with a lower-body injury. Boudreau said they'd know more Friday … The Sabres have scored one goal in two home games.

 

What's next

Wild: Host the Dallas Stars on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-SW, NHL.TV)

Sabres: Host the Florida Panthers on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; MSG-B, FS-F, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Dubnyk records second shutout in 4-0 win over Sabres

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