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Wild's Dubnyk does it again, shuts out Avalanche

by Dan Myers /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Devan Dubnyk made 18 saves for the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. But it was one by defenseman Jonas Brodin that may have been the best of the game.

Brodin's sweeping save late in regulation preserved a 1-0 victory for the Wild against the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center.

With Colorado on the power play and under five minutes to play, forward Matt Duchene came free in the slot. He rifled a shot that slipped through Dubnyk's five-hole and crept toward the goal line. But Brodin swooped in and fired the puck back out between Dubnyk's legs, keeping the Wild ahead by a goal.

"Great play by Dubnyk to open up there," Brodin said with a laugh. "I just saw the puck going in slowly. I got pretty lucky there. It happened so fast."

Dubnyk said he hadn't seen the play, but knew the puck had gotten behind him.

"I just knew I got a little piece of it," Dubnyk said. "I knew it had gotten behind me so I just kind of rolled around and did a snow angel there. I'll have to watch it after and thank him for that."

Dubnyk now has four shutouts in nine starts since being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 14. He's 7-1-0 over that span with a 1.31 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage.

"It's nice to enjoy [reflecting on the past three weeks] on the days between games, but the reason of why we've been successful as a group is because we're just taking it by each game," Dubnyk said. "We approach each game as its own single game that's important and we have to win and not look at the big picture. It's the same thing for me personally."

Charlie Coyle scored for Minnesota (25-20-6), which has won five in a row and moved into a tie for ninth place in the Western Conference standings, one point ahead of Colorado (22-20-11). The Avalanche have been shut out eight times this season and haven't scored in three games against the Wild.

Dubnyk wasn't tested much until the final six minutes of regulation when the Avalanche got a power play with 5:51 remaining. Colorado, which had 12 shots on goal prior to the man-advantage, forced Dubnyk to make five saves in two minutes.

After a hectic final few minutes, Wild coach Mike Yeo let out an audible sigh.

"You can quote me on that," he said. "After our last game against the [Chicago] Blackhawks, we went back in the coaches room and watched their game against Dallas. They had their goalie pulled at that time and you could just tell [the tying goal] was coming. But our guys weathered the storm and [Dubnyk] was there when we needed him."

Colorado weathered a storm of its own in the first period, when the Wild out-attempted the Avalanche by a 34-6 margin and out-shot them 17-4.

"They had a really good start," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "But I liked the way we regrouped. We got dominated in the first, but I thought in the second and the third we responded well."

Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov made several fantastic saves to keep the game scoreless until 11:51, when Coyle tipped a shot from the point by Marco Scandella. Nino Niederreiter was also credited with an assist.

"He was really good, kept us in it for sure," Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog said of Varlamov. "That's how he's been playing lately."

"The first period was one of our best starts. Things might have almost went a little too well for us, to be honest," Yeo said. "You have a period like that and you only have a one-goal lead, it's almost a win for them that period."

Each team had five shots on goal in the second period and played a relatively even third until the final six minutes, which were played almost exclusively in front of Dubnyk.

The Avalanche got Varlamov to the bench with two minutes remaining and controlled possession, but Minnesota clogged up shooting lanes and allowed a lone shot from the high slot to get to the net.

"We were inching closer and closer [and] had a couple on the goal line, but they just wouldn't go in," Landeskog said.

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