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Dubnyk, Wild shut down Flames

by Aaron Vickers /

CALGARY -- The Minnesota Wild are gaining ground in the Western Conference during their trip through Western Canada thanks in large part to their new goaltender.

Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves for his second shutout as a member of the Wild and third of his season and Zach Parise scored the lone goal to lift Minnesota to a 1-0 victory against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.

"I think we owe a lot to Dubnyk tonight," Parise said. "He bailed us out on a lot of different breakdowns we had. He was really good. He really has been. Sometimes, a lot of times, you have breakdowns and you need to get bailed out and he's done that for us. He's made big saves. He's made the saves he should make and some you don't expect him to. We're really happy so far with how he's played."

Parise scored 8:59 into the game and Dubnyk made that goal stand up for the Wild, who have won the first two games of a three-game trip that concludes Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks.

Dubnyk made 23 saves in Minnesota's 2-1 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. He's 4-1-0 with a 1.66 goals against average and .931 save percentage since being acquired by the Wild from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 14 in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

"It's fun to play important games," he said. "But at the same time, I was happy with the way my game was in Arizona so I wanted to really concentrate on sticking with the same things I was doing there that was helping me be successful there.

"Coming here, obviously the wins feel that much better when the games mean a lot."

It was the first shutout loss of the season for the Flames (26-20-3), who hold the second Western Conference wild-card position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Wild (22-20-6) are five points back.

"With the way things are in the standings right now, we need every point and tonight was a tough one to drop, especially with a team that's not too far behind us," Calgary forward Brandon Bollig said. "That one definitely stings. We had a lot of good spots in that game, and it's tough we didn't pop one, but we're going to feel this one the next few games."

Parise capitalized on a rare misplay by Flames captain Mark Giordano to score the game's lone goal.

Thomas Vanek knocked Giordano's clearing attempt to Parise in front of the net. Parise made a quick deke and slipped the puck between the legs of goaltender Jonas Hiller for his 20th goal of the season.

"It was a really good play by Thomas," Parise said. "That's why we call him 'Selke' in here. It was a really good stick and it popped right to me for a small little breakaway. I just waited Hiller out and tried to get him to open up a little bit."

The assist, the 300th of Vanek's career, set up Parise's sixth goal in as many games.

"You go through those phases when you get the puck and you want to shoot, you want to keep shooting," Parise said. "A lot of it, like tonight, the puck just happens to land right in front of you for a little semi-breakaway or a rebound or getting to the net. When that's happening you enjoy it and you keep trying to shoot it as much as you can when it's going in."

Giordano knew his mistake was the difference in the game.

"I tried to make the play in the middle and the guy got a stick on it and it went right to the front of our net, and their guy's all alone there," he said. "I have to be better. That's a play I usually want to make and it's an odd-man rush if I make it, but at the end of the night, you look back at that one and it sucks because we lost 1-0."

The combination of Jason Zucker and Jason Pominville nearly extended the Wild's lead to two with 5:43 remaining in the first. Zucker and Pominville got behind the defense, but Zucker fanned on the initial attempt and Pominville's follow-up was denied by the pad of Hiller, who made 13 first-period saves.

Pominville had another opportunity 5:17 into the second period, but was stopped by Hiller again after taking a cross-crease pass from Mikko Koivu. On the next shift, Hiller made back-to-back saves on Wild forward Nino Niederreiter, including one with the toe of his skate.

Dubnyk was also busy, stopping Mason Raymond on back-to-back attempts later in the period as part of an 8-0 run in shots by the Flames.

Hiller kept the Flames close in the third, denying Pominville's third doorstep chance of the game 5:18 into the period. After a give-and-go with Koivu, Pominville found himself at the top of the crease but couldn't lift the puck over Hiller.

The save gave the Flames a spark. Dubnyk took it away.

Just over a minute after Pominville's attempt, Johnny Gaudreau dashed through the slot and around a sliding Jared Spurgeon, but Dubnyk flashed the glove to keep Calgary off the scoreboard. He showed a quick pad on Giordano near the midway mark of the period after Jiri Hudler spotted the Flames' captain trailing off the rush. Dubnyk also stopped Paul Byron on a breakaway with his pad with 7:15 remaining, the best of his eight third-period saves, to preserve the regulation victory.

"When you start getting into the last 10 minutes of the third period, that just becomes so important," Dubnyk said. "You need a win but in a game like that to get it in regulation is really important."

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