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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 4, Jets 2

Multi-goal performances from Niederreiter, Pominville push Minnesota past Winnipeg

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Recap: MIN 4, WPG 2

Pominville's four-point game helps Wild top Jets, 4-2

Jason Pominville factored in every scoring play with two goals and two assists to back a 38-save performance from Devan Dubnyk in a 4-2 win

  • 04:30 •

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Tuesday night:

1. Playing in his 283rd consecutive game, which tied a franchise record, Charlie Coyle played a big part in Minnesota getting out to a three-goal lead.

Video: MIN@WPG: Niederreiter tallies after smooth toe drag

Coyle, who has struggled of late, was moved to center for the first time this season and made an immediate impact. He set up Nino Niederreiter with the first goal of the game by leaving him a pretty drop pass. Niederreiter gathered in the puck and toe dragged around a defenseman, rifling the puck past goaltender Ondrej Pavelec at 11:51 of the first to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.

But Coyle wasn't done.

Video: MIN@WPG: Pominville rips home slapper after turnover

In the final minute of the frame, he forced a turnover in the neutral zone and dished to Jason Pominville on his right before charging toward the front of the net. Pominville handled things himself, however, hammering a slapper into the back of the net off a defenseman's stick for a 2-0 lead at 19:19. 

Video: MIN@WPG: Pominville nets his second from tough angle

Pominville scored again less than three minutes into the second, firing a cross-crease pass from Coyle into an open net.

"[Coyle] was pretty good. I knew I was going to go down three lines in the third period. That's why I moved him back to wing," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "It wasn't because of the fact that he wasn't playing well because I thought he was our best player.

"Proof was in the pudding I guess. He got three assists, he was all over the ice, he had chances to score. It was his best game in awhile. It was very noticeable."

Video: Bruce Boudreau Postgame at Winnipeg

For Coyle, who tied Antti Laaksonen's team record for consecutive games played, it was the 11th time in his career he's had multiple helpers in a single game. He now has 28 assists on the season, which has already surpassed his career high.

"It was different. I felt like I had a lot of speed in the middle and playing with Pominville and Niederreiter, it clicked right away," Coyle said "A few little 3-on-2 quick rushes, we just get the puck to the net and it goes in. That makes us feel good right at the start [to] have a couple going early. And we just, we wanted to play responsible down low, just kind of play in their end and wear them down. I thought we did a pretty good job of that early on."

Pominville's two goals elevated him to 10 on the year, giving the Wild 10 different double-digit goal scorers, tied for most in the NHL (Washington). The multi-goal night was Pominville's 24th of his career and 35th three-point game, and his assist on Niederreiter's empty-net goal with 1:19 left gave him four points on the night.

2. Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk was fantastic, making 12 saves in the first period, 14 more in the second and 12 in the third to win his 29th game.

The victory allowed him to keep pace with Columbus' Sergei Bobrovsky, who also won his 29th. The two are tied for the NHL lead in victories.

Late in the game, Dubnyk came up big, squeezing the pads after a puck took a funny hop off the post and off his back, landing between his skates. He also turned away a tricky shot from the point through traffic by defenseman Jacob Trouba.

Video: Locker Room Postgame at Winnipeg

"They poured on it at the start. We weren't really playing our best hockey. [Dubnyk] came up huge early on for us and kept us in it, and we wanted to help him out," Coyle said. "We knew after that second we hadn't played our best, and we just tried to do those little things and play solid defensively and get in front of shots, block shots, help [Dubnyk] as much as we could." 

With the Winnipeg net empty and the Jets trailing by a goal, Dubnyk made a large stop on Nikolaj Ehlers after some great puck movement. Moments later, Niederreiter slid the puck into the empty net to make it a 4-2 game.

His 38 saves in the game was his most since he made 37 stops in a Nov. 10 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"That's my job. That's literally my only job, so it's nice. The guys have been scoring a lot of goals for me, so it's nice to kick them out for them," Dubnyk said. "We knew they were going to come. This was the end of a long trip for us and they were obviously frustrated with their loss in Colorado, so we knew they play real hard at home and that's what they did. I said it before, to consistently come out in the third periods and show that we can pull it together and lock it down for the third, that's the sign of a great hockey team."

Minnesota finished its four-game, nine-day road trip 3-1-0 and will return home for an eight-game homestand beginning Wednesday against Chicago.

3. The Wild (35-12-5) said Tuesday morning that it needed to weather an early storm.

Winnipeg's MTS Centre is one of the loudest buildings in the NHL, and getting off to quality starts often proves futile for visiting teams. Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon mentioned the importance of keeping control of the game early.

Minnesota did that, getting the first three shots of the game and keeping its defensive zone clean for the first part of the first period, long enough for the Wild to get on the board first, just past the halfway point of the period.

Video: MIN@WPG: Dubnyk turns away Copp with a blocker save

When Winnipeg (25-27-4) did have chances, Dubnyk was solid, making a huge stop on Andrew Copp, then making life difficult for Copp again a few minutes later when the Jets forward had the puck all alone in front of the goal. Dubnyk played the chance aggressively, forcing Copp to fire high and wide. 

"You need him to play that way," Boudreau said. "But you never know at the end of a nine day trip if he's going to be just as fatigued as the rest of the team was. So I'm glad he was there."


Loose Pucks

• For Pominville, the four-point game was his first since Jan. 1, 2011, when he was a member of the Buffalo Sabres. 

• The multi-goal game for Niederreiter was his ninth career multi-goal effort, fourth this season and third in the last 13 games.

Mikael Granlund was stopped on a penalty shot in the second period. It was Minnesota's second penalty shot attempt this season and 35th in franchise history. The Wild has converted 17 of those tries.

• Granlund's 12-game point streak was snapped. The streak was the longest in franchise history and the longest in the NHL this season.

• Minnesota moved to 3-0-0 against Winnipeg this season, assuring itself of the series victory. The teams play two more times, both in Winnipeg, in 2016-17.

• The Wild has points in 16 of its past 17 road contests, posting a 14-1-2 record during that stretch.

• The eight-game homestand that begins Wednesday is the longest in franchise history.

• Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec allowed three goals on 14 shots before leaving the game with a lower-body injury early in the second period. Connor Hellebuyck entered and stopped all 10 shots he faced.
 

He Said It
"We defended hard, I mean in the second ... wasn't our best, but I thought with the one-goal lead in the third we didn't really give them much and we were smart with the puck got pucks deep. I think everyone took pride in defending and for the most part being short on our changes and getting fresh guys on the ice. And I think it paid off so it was nice to get the win for sure." -- Wild forward Jason Pominville

They Said It

"I think we didn't have a great start. We were a little bit slow to start the game and then I thought we turned it on, did some good things. Regardless of the score, I thought we controlled a good portion of the play. Thats a good team over there, they do a lot of good thing defensively, and I thought we spent some good time in their zone." -- Jets forward Blake Wheeler


Dan's Three Stars

* Jason Pominville

** Devan Dubnyk

*** Charlie Coyle

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