1. In a matchup of two of the NHL's winningest goaltenders, neither was surrendering much of anything.
After stopping all seven shots he faced in a relief role in Winnipeg on Tuesday, Devan Dubnyk picked up right where he left off, weathering an early Columbus push. Dubnyk, who began the night leading the League with 34 wins, stopped all 27 shots he faced through 40 minutes as the Wild (41-15-6) and Blue Jackets went to the final frame scoreless.
"You kind of expect that, going against that group anyway. That's something that we wanted to get back to, and that's a team that doesn't give up a lot of goals and hasn't been," Dubnyk said. "We hit a couple posts and get a goal called back on a crazy rule that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
"It was a good hockey game. You can't take anything away from them. They played great."
Not to be outdone, Sergei Bobrovsky had 18 saves through two periods, including several grade-As in the second. He kicked away a chance from Nino Niederreiter on a rebound try seconds after stopping Eric Staal on a clean breakaway.
Erik Haula appeared to break the stalemate at 7:23 of the second period after the puck got under Bobrovsky off a Blue Jackets' skate. But after video review, it was ruled Haula kicked the puck himself and officials waved off the goal.
"Rule 49.2 says an opposing player cannot kick the puck and deflect off any other player," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "First of all, the puck wasn't kicked at the net, he was trying to kick it up to his [stick] because it was going five feet wide and they put it in their own net. ... I don't get it."
"It's one of those rules that seems kind of silly, but that's the rule and it is what it is," Staal said.
2. Columbus (40-16-6) finally broke through four minutes into the third period on a goal by Brandon Saad.
The former Blackhawk charged into offensive zone and fired a shot that Dubnyk stopped up high. He thought he had trapped the puck against his chest, but it rolled down his jersey and landed in the blue paint, where Saad jammed it inside the right post before Dubnyk could cover it.
The Wild made a final push over the last 15 minutes of the game, but was unable to solve Bobrovsky, who stopped all 38 shots he faced for his fourth shutout of the season.
"They protected the net really well," Boudreau said. "Their net play was really good and I think it was hard to get inside [their defensemen]. Their goalie made some great saves, as did ours, but I certainly think we had the better of the chances."
It was the fourth time this season Minnesota has been shutout, all by a 1-0 margin. Dubnyk matched his season high with 39 saves.
3. Minnesota finished a stretch of games where it has been without Zach Parise and Jason Pominville (mumps) 2-1-0, but it is about to embark on its most grueling run of the season.
"I think we would've liked six [points]," Dubnyk said. "Those are two big pieces for us, so it's exciting to picture what the lineup could be and what we're gonna be capable of when we add those two guys back in the mix and how deep we're gonna be."
The Wild will not play again until it plays the San Jose Sharks at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday. The two-day break between games will be the final such rest Minnesota receives the rest of the year.
Boudreau said he hopes both Parise and Pominville are able to practice with the team when it next hits the ice on Saturday.
After a two-game homestand against the Sharks and St. Louis Blues, the Wild goes on a final lengthy road trip to Tampa, Sunrise (Florida), Chicago, Washington and Raleigh.
Back-to-back games follow over the next three weekends, and the Wild plays at least every other day in between until the regular season concludes in Arizona on April 8.
"It's gonna get crazy and we'll enjoy the time at home with family for a couple days and prepare for a grind," Dubnyk said. "That's the way it is in March and April and it seems to get a little crazier each year. With the schedule, it seems like they pack one or two more games in the same amount of days each year. We'll enjoy the two days and get ready to go."
• Niederreiter led all shooters with six shots on goal.
• Ryan Suter was back in the lineup Thursday after missing the final two periods of Tuesday's victory in Winnipeg, and was on the ice for nearly 28 minutes.
• Nick Foligno tallied the only assist on Saad's goal.
• Columbus finishes the season series 2-0-0 against Minnesota.
• The Wild remains three points ahead of Chicago for the top spot in the Central Division with one game in hand.
• Attendance: 15,987
He said it
"We got four out of six [points], we've won the week so far. It's not all that bad, it's just the team behind us doesn;t want to lose any games. We don't want to lose any either." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on his team's stretch of three games in four nights without forwards Zach Parise and Jason Pominville
They said it
"I think we had some patient minutes tonight where it wasn't all about trying to create offense. I think we've gotten better how to play in the league and to play in the league you have to play different ways, that's what I think our growth has gone to." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella
Dan's three stars
* Sergei Bobrovsky
** Devan Dubnyk
*** Brandon Saad