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Dumba trying like mad to snap frustrating goal-scoring drought

Defenseman put six shots on goal and attempted 11 shots in one-goal loss to Flames Thursday in Calgary

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

CALGARY -- Matt Dumba is a man that desperately needs a goal. 

The Wild defenseman, who was on track for a monster campaign a year ago before sustaining a freak season-ending shoulder injury, has been unable to recapture the same offensive magic. Its been since Nov. 12 ... a frustrating, maddening, sometimes baffling 26-game stretch without a goal for Dumba.

But it hasn't been for a lack of effort.

Dumba had six shots on goal and attempted 11 shots in the Wild's 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday night.

This on the heels of a four-shot effort in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Flames on Sunday in St. Paul. 

Video: Bruce Boudreau postgame at Calgary

"He's snake bit like there's nobody else snake bit," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "Eventually they gotta go in for him. It's the law of averages that if he keeps getting those chances, he's going to get goals."

Playing in front of a host of friends and family, Dumba nearly got off the schneid in the first period when he was set up on a beauty of a pass by Victor Rask in front. But Dumba's quick one-timer was gloved down by a sprawling Cam Talbot.

Dumba just shook his head and took a quick glance skyward, seemingly rolling his eyes. 

Asked about wanting to break out of a lengthy goal skid in his hometown, Dumba made no bones about it.

"Yeah," he said, "I wanted to." 

Video: Locker room postgame at Calgary

It's clear the lack of a goal recently has started to wear on him. 

After scoring 12 goals in 32 games last season, Dumba appeared poised to head to his first All-Star Game, potentially approach 30 goals and have the kind of breakout campaign fans have expected since the Wild drafted him with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

His career through his early-20s was hitting its crescendo immediately after he signed a five-year contract extension in the summer of 2018 to remain in Minnesota long-term.

Then, during a fight with Calgary's Matthew Tkachuk, Dumba ruptured his pec, an injury that resulted in surgery and months of rest and rehab. 

He's been healthy all season, playing in all 44 of the Wild's games. But for one reason or another, the puck luck just hasn't been there. 

But if Thursday's game is any indication, Dumba could be poised to break out, and perhaps just in time. The loss dropped the Wild seven points behind the Flames in the Western Conference standings, but a red-hot Dumba could be the kind of catalyst Minnesota needs to go on a much-needed run. 

Just like it seems like it's Dumba's turn to light the lamp, the Wild needs to take its turn stringing together victories. 

"We're not in a position where we can win one, lose one," Boudreau said. "You gotta put a little string together. Look at Edmonton's putting a little string, Calgary's now putting a little string. If you don't put a string together, you're going to be left the last 25 games looking up with no chance."


Postgame Hat Trick: Flames 2, Wild 1

Video: MIN Recap: Zuccarello scores lone goal in 2-1 loss

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