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Dubnyk, Wild continue mastery of Oilers

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- Devan Dubnyk is still perfect against his former team this season.

The Minnesota Wild goaltender made 15 saves in a 4-0 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Friday. It was Dubnyk's 14th career shutout and sixth this season. Five of the six have come since he was acquired by the Wild on Jan. 14.

"That was just a really, really good road game by us, right from the get-go," Dubnyk said. "We methodically chipped away at the game. We had good puck possession and we were coming back on top of pucks and we didn't give them much of anything. We just played a great hockey game."

Dubnyk is 5-0-0 against the Oilers this season. The former Oiler defeated Edmonton three times as a member of the Arizona Coyotes before being acquired by Minnesota. The Oilers and Wild play for the third and final time Tuesday in St. Paul., Minn., giving Dubnyk an opportunity for a clean sweep against Edmonton.

Minnesota returns home to play the Dallas Stars on Sunday.

"The games are so important for us right now, it's just one at a time," Dubnyk said. "Every two points are so important for us and we've done a good job of just taking it one game at a time and we have been able to climb back in it. We're going to take it one at a time."

Dubnyk is 12-2-1 since coming to the Wild. With the win, he set a career-high for victories in a season with 21. Prior to joining the Wild, Dubnyk had a 9-5-2 record with Arizona.

"We played solid, we had four lines all our defense, and obviously, Devan was there when we needed him," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "It was both ends of the ice for me, the way we defended, but also the way we executed. We didn't allow them to spend a lot of time in the offensive zone."

Justin Fontaine had two goals, and Nino Niederreiter and Jordan Schroeder also scored for the Wild (30-21-7), which moved within one point of the San Jose Sharks for the second Western Conference wild-card position for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Goaltender Ben Scrivens made 25 saves for the Oilers (17-33-10). It was his second consecutive start after missing three games with a thigh injury.

"We never generated what we wanted to tonight," Oilers coach Todd Nelson said. "We played against a team that is good defensively and playing very well right now. They made us work for everything that we got, which wasn't much. We just didn't have any jump tonight. It was a tough game for us moving the puck and we didn't execute very well. I thought our structure was off. When you put all of those things together, that's what happens. All 20 guys struggled tonight."

Fontaine scored 10:18 into the first period to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. He redirected Christian Folin's shot past Scrivens for his sixth of the season.

Niederreiter made it 2-0 at 15:06 when Scrivens kicked out a shot right to him, and he lifted the puck over the goaltender for his 19th.

"That was a poor performance by all of us tonight, for reasons I'm not really sure," Oilers right wing Matt Hendricks said. "I don't think we had the energy tonight. That's no excuse. We had a day off yesterday because our last game was a good one at home [5-4 shootout win against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday]. We just weren't executing and we didn't have the energy we needed to be the team we need to be to compete.

"They're a very good team. It starts with their goalie, through their defenseman and up to their forwards, they play as a unit. They protect the house and take away shooting lanes."

Schroeder put Minnesota up 3-0 at 15:50 of the second period by converting a cross-ice feed from Thomas Vanek. The Wild raced into the Oilers zone on a 3-on-2 break, and Vanek was able to thread the needle between two Edmonton defensemen to Schroeder for an easy tap-in.

Fontaine scored his second goal of the game with 1:15 remaining in regulation. He took a centering pass from Zach Parise and fired it past Scrivens.

"It's pretty special when we can go on a streak like we have and have the entire team chip in right from top to bottom," Dubnyk said. "That's why it's been a lot of fun and it's brought us close together. It's been so fun to be part of a group of guys that works like we do, sticks together and finds ways to win games. It's been a lot of fun."

The Oilers host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

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