ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A team needs its goaltender to steal a game every now and then. Tuesday was one of those nights for the Minnesota Wild.
Minnesota was outshot 39-18, but goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 38 saves to help the Wild to a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Xcel Energy Center.
Dubnyk's performance couldn't have come at a better time for the Wild (35-28-11), who moved one point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Avalanche, who host Minnesota on Saturday, have a game on hand.
"He was big, competitive and wanted to win, and he wanted to show the team that he was going to carry us through that game," Wild coach John Torchetti said. "We didn't get the play we wanted in front of him. He was fun to watch because he competed and did a great job, even on rebounds, of keeping them close. Just came up big for us."
Video: LAK@MIN: Dubnyk sprawls for two nice saves
Dubnyk, 8-1-1 in his past 10 decisions, made 14 saves in the first, 11 in the second and 13 in the third to help Minnesota win its third straight game.
"From the start to the very last second, throughout the game, he was great, and he got better and better towards the end," Wild captain Mikko Koivu said. "Huge win for the team and huge effort by him."
Koivu and Erik Haula scored goals for Minnesota. Tyler Toffoli had the only goal for Los Angeles, which has clinched a playoff berth.
"[Dubnyk] basically single-handedly got us the win," Haula said. "He almost had 40 saves and he stood on his head the whole game. He definitely was the backbone tonight."
Video: LAK@MIN: Dubnyk makes nifty save with the glove on PP
Los Angeles (44-24-5), first in the Pacific Division, has lost the first two games of a three-game trip that concludes against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. The Kings had won four in a row before losses on back-to-back nights at the Nashville Predators and the Wild.
Dubnyk stymied two Grade-A scoring chances by Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. The first, less than four minutes into the game, came at the end of a power play; the Kings worked the puck to Doughty at the left point for a one-timer that was headed for the far post. Dubnyk followed the pass and was in position but added some sizzle to the sprawling glove save.
Midway through the second, Dubnyk went post-to-post to take away what appeared to be a sure goal on a one-timer by Doughty from the left circle. After the whistle, all Doughty could do was slump over on his stick and shake his head.
He watched the replay on the scoreboard and smiled.
Video: LAK@MIN: Dubnyk uses glove to make slick save
"He was giving me a hard time because that was twice I was waving it around on him. I said the first one might have been a little much, but I had to on the second one," Dubnyk said. "He's a good player, and it's always nice to get a couple on him."
Haula gave the Wild a 1-0 lead at 3:46 of the first period, 12 seconds after he finished serving a high-sticking penalty. Haula took a pass from Charlie Coyle in the slot and swept a backhand shot past Jonathan Quick for his 12th goal. It extended his career-high point streak to six games (3-3--6).
Los Angeles dominated the rest of the period, finishing with a 14-3 advantage in shots on goal.
Minnesota took advantage of its third power play of the game early in the second to go ahead 2-0. A failed clearing attempt by the Kings ended up on the stick of Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, who walked along the blue line before feeding Koivu at the right circle. Koivu moved toward the slot, then beat Quick with a shot over his blocker at 3:13. It was Koivu's 17th goal of the season and 10th on the power play.
Video: LAK@MIN: Haula's backhand gives Wild early lead
Suter's assist gave him 47 points, breaking the franchise single-season record for points a defenseman. It also established a career high for Suter; he had 46 points in 2011-12, his final season with the Predators.
Despite being outshot 19-7 up to that point, Minnesota led 2-0.
"It's tough to score in this League," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "When you've got that many shots [against], you've got to make sure you keep the goals-against at one or two and score. That's how you make the playoffs, and that's how you win in the playoffs."
Toffoli made it 2-1 at 11:35, scoring off the rush with a snap shot from the slot that beat Dubnyk to the blocker side for his 27th goal.
"I thought we had some decent looks and Drew in particular had some really good shots, they just didn't go in," Kings forward Anze Kopitar said. "You've got to give [Dubnyk] some credit. Obviously he's been doing that for quite a while now, so it's not a surprise. It's on us. We need to do a better job and make it tougher on him, but credit to him."
The Kings outshot Minnesota 13-6 in the third period, but Toffoli's slashing penalty with 58 seconds remaining dampened the Kings' hopes for a last-minute tying goal.
Video: Dubnyk leads Wild to crucial 2-1 victory over Kings