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Granlund snaps drought as Wild puts forth team effort in win over Habs

Minnesota will aim for perfect road trip Tuesday when it plays the Bruins in Boston

by Dan Myers @MNWildScribe /

MONTREAL -- Mired in a 15-game goal drought, Mikael Granlund couldn't have picked a better time to snap out of his funk.

Granlund's goal almost seven minutes into the third period on Monday broke a scoreless tie as Minnesota scored a 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. 

The goal was Granlund's first since Nov. 29 and his first in a Wild victory since Nov. 11 in St. Louis.

Video: Locker room postgame at Montreal

"You always want to score. I've never considered myself as a big goal scorer. You just try to play the game, and play hard and try to make plays and create some offense," Granlund said. "Those pucks are going to go in at some point."

Monday's game had the feel of one where a single mistake would likely make the difference.

Fortunately for the Wild, it was the beneficiary of that mistake.

Video: MIN@MTL: Dubnyk stops Byron's backhand shot

With Devan Dubnyk and Carey Price locked in a goaltending duel, Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry fed Granlund with a spinning backhand of a pass.

"It seemed like the ice was so fast that the puck was spinning like a curling rock every time it hit somebody's stick," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "I mean, the best pass was the one they gave Granny."

Granlund finished the deed, holding the puck through the slot, waiting until Price committed, then waiting a split second longer before firing into an open net for his 12th goal of the season. 

Video: MIN@MTL: Granlund buries wrist shot into the open net

With Dubnyk locked in, and a short-handed penalty killing unit doing the rest, Minnesota was able to earn its first shutout victory of the season and Dubnyk's 30th of his NHL career. 

"It's nice to get. Kind of weird it's been this long," Dubnyk said. "[Its] been four or five games where it felt like it was going to be and never happened. Shutouts are nice. Winning's important. Extra special it was 1-0 because we really needed that shutout."

With the win, the Wild bumped its record on its current four-game road trip to 3-0 with a date against the Boston Bruins looming on Tuesday at TD Garden.

If it is to have a perfect trip, it may have to do so without penalty killing maven and fourth line center Eric Fehr, who departed Monday's game less than three minutes in after taking a late hit from Montreal's Kenny Agostino. 

Fehr's forehead appeared to hit the top of the dasher boards near the Wild bench and he skated off with assistance holding a towel to his face.

Boudreau didn't have an update on Fehr after the game, but Minnesota's killing units did a marvelous job without Fehr, who along with Marcus Foligno, is often Boudreau's first choice of forwards over the boards on a kill.

Minnesota's penalty kill went 3-for-3 on Monday, magnified by the 1-nothing final score.

"We're hoping that's Fehrzie's going to make a quick recovery. We've got a big job tomorrow night against a Boston team that's been together for awhile when it comes to the power play," Foligno said. "Fehr brings a lot. He brings a lot of stability. PKing with me, he's helped me a lot too. This is where we need guys to step up."

On Monday, it was J.T. Brown stepping into Fehr's role on the kill and earning praise from his head coach afterward.

Video: Bruce Boudreau postgame at Montreal

"I thought Brownie being inserted in there for the first time did a heck of a job killing," Boudreau said. "It was tough when you lose a center. It's easier to replace a winger and rotate four lines. When it's a center it's a little more difficult."
After a late night of travel and an early morning arrival in Boston, the challenge won't be an easy one. But Wild defenseman Nick Seeler and others said it's important the group not be satisfied with simply a winning road trip.

Now, it's time to get greedy.

"That'd be huge," Seeler said. "[It'd be] really nice to go into Boston and get a win. We're gonna get some rest tonight and stay focused tomorrow. Hopefully we do our jobs and get a win."


Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 1, Canadiens 0

Video: Granlund, Dubnyk lead Wild to 1-0 shutout win

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