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Dubnyk shuts out Sabres in first game with Wild

by Joe Yerdon /

BUFFALO -- The Minnesota Wild were in desperate need of a win, and newly acquired goalie Devan Dubnyk helped them end a six-game losing streak emphatically.

Dubnyk made 18 saves in a 7-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Thursday.

"He showed poise in the net and obviously his size," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "They had the first scoring chance of the game, he made the save and that was big. ... Definitely a good start."

It was Dubnyk's 10th NHL shutout and came in his first start with the Wild. Dubnyk was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in a trade Wednesday.

"I try to draw off my experience last year," Dubnyk said. "Going to Nashville (in a trade), I didn't have the best first game and I think I built it up a little bit too much. I've seen [the Wild] play a lot and I know they're a great team and they work hard, so I just wanted to go out and be real solid and not try to be heroic or worry about that. Just go out and be a presence for them and make them comfortable back there."

Former Sabres forward Jason Pominville had three assists, including on goals by Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek in the first period and Matt Dumba's in the second period for Minnesota (19-19-5).

"We just needed a win," Pominville said. "We just needed to find a way to win. [Dubnyk] steps in and plays well for us, nice of him to not give up anything and get his confidence where it needs to be. But I think most important it was to go out there and trust our system, trust our game, and any way we can find a way to win."

The Wild have won three of their past 15 games (3-8-4).

"We would've taken it any way, to be honest with you," Yeo said. "But I think for a lot of guys to come out of a game and feel good about their game, to feel rewarded for the way that they played in terms of helping to reinforce. ... We played one of our best defensive games in an awful long time, and you look at how that helped us create offense as well. So hopefully this is a building block."

Buffalo (14-28-3) has lost a Sabres-record nine consecutive games in regulation and have been outscored 39-9 during that streak.

"Well, after a game like tonight, I mean, losing's hard enough when you lose a tight game," Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges said. "When you get blown out, you get embarrassed in your own building, I feel bad for the fans that come here to support us. And we go out there and have an effort like that in front of them. They don't deserve that. They deserve better."

Seven Wild players scored. Minnesota went ahead 2-0 in the first period and had a 5-0 lead in the second. Kyle Brodziak scored a shorthanded goal 6:00 into the second period, a League-worst eighth shorthanded goal allowed by the Sabres this season.

"With the situation we've got going here, when you're on a rebuild, there's going to be nights like that," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "And everything that could go wrong went wrong. We had a meeting specifically to talk about those types of things. But in the situation we're in right now, there's going to be some nights like this unfortunately. And through nights like this you'll find the real character of certain guys and who you're going to go forward with building your team properly with."

Dumba's goal 9:06 into the second period made it 4-0 and Jared Spurgeon's sixth with 1:06 left in regulation was the Wild's third of the period. Dumba was recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

"I thought from the get-go we competed harder, won more battles, and were able to play in their end for the most part," Pominville said. "Obviously [Parise's] goal ends up being a big one early. Any time you can get a lead against a team that might be a little frustrated and a little shaky ends up falling into our favor tonight."

Forward Matt Cooke's fourth goal 4:26 into the third period made it 6-0 when the puck went in off Sabres forward Philip Varone's skate and past Enroth. Center Erik Haula made it 7-0 with 1:33 left.

"We've been having talks every day," Sabres forward Tyler Ennis said. "There's been yelling and screaming. Right now, it just comes down to being better individually."

The Wild scored seven goals in a game for the second time this season (Oct. 25 against the Tampa Bay Lightning).

"You get so consumed into this little world of hockey when you lose and you feel like every day it's cloudy, rainy," Parise said. "You get to the rink and everything just feels thick and it's contagious. So I hope that a win like this will at least brighten up things a little bit."

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