Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 2-1 overtime loss against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey:
1. It took Joel Eriksson Ek all of 21 minutes to score his first career NHL goal.
The goal wasn't one for the highlight reel, but highlighted everything coach Bruce Boudreau and his staff love about Eriksson Ek's game. His forecheck forced a turnover at the offensive blue line, where he chipped the puck over to Jason Zucker, who sent a bouncer in on Devils goaltender Cory Schneider. When Schneider couldn't corral it, Eriksson Ek was there to pounce on the rebound.
"It was like the puck was going in in slow motion," Eriksson Ek said. "You feel like you can handle the level. It [felt] better and better for each shift."
Eriksson Ek, the 19-year-old rookie from Sweden, became the seventh Wild player in franchise history to score in his NHL debut.
In addition to scoring the Wild's lone goal, Eriksson Ek earned the trust of Boudreau and was on the ice in the final minute of regulation and on the penalty kill.
"He had a good game and he's a responsible player," Boudreau said. "I needed what I thought to at least salvage the point was to get the most responsible players I had on the ice."
2. Devan Dubnyk was locked in for a second consecutive game.
After making 31 saves in a 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday in St. Paul, Boudreau said he could tell Dubnyk "was on" from the puck drop.
That carried over to Saturday.
Dubnyk made nine saves in the first period to keep the game scoreless while the Wild worked out the kinks. New Jersey outshot Minnesota 9-3 in the opening frame.
After Eriksson Ek scored to make it 1-0 a minute into the second, Dubnyk stood his ground, making a handful of fantastic saves, highlighted by a left pad save on Taylor Hall and a right pad save from his back on Beau Bennett, where Dubnyk stacked the pads. He also stoned Kyle Palmieri in the final seconds of the second on a one-timer that could have spoiled an otherwise solid period for Minnesota.
Video: Devan Dubnyk Postgame at New Jersey
"I felt good," Dubnyk said. "It was a fun game to play and a little slow at the start; it started to open up a bit in the second and they were getting some chances. It's nice to feel good in a game like that when they're getting some opportunities."
Stops on Zacha, where he went post-to-post to keep the puck out, and another one-timer, this time on Mike Cammalleri, preserved the lead until P.A. Parenteau tied the game with less than 9 minutes to play in regulation.
Dubnyk finished with 30 saves overall.
"He was pretty good," Boudreau said. "If that's an off night of his, then I don't wanna see ... an on night. He's [really] good."
3. Wild assistant coach Scott Stevens still means a lot to Devils fans.
During a television timeout in the first period, the Devils played an extended video package honoring Stevens, who spent 13 seasons with the club and helped the Devils to three Stanley Cup Championships. Stevens is also one of four players to have his number retired by the organization.
As the video ended, the Prudential Center crowd rose to its feet and gave Stevens an extended standing ovation as he waved from behind the Wild bench.
Known as one of his era's quintessential tough guys on the ice, the tribute clearly moved Stevens, proving that the people of New Jersey and Devils fans still mean a lot to him as well.
• The Wild scored the first goal of the game for the first time this season.
• Minnesota dropped to 0-1-1 on the road this season. The Wild is 3-0-0 on home ice.
• Devils goaltender Cory Schneider finished with 28 saves.
• It was the fourth time in five outings the Devils have been involved in a 2-1 game. New Jersey has won twice and lost twice.
• Attendance: 16,154
He Said It
"Yeah, you could tell. I mean, it was 2-on-1s all over the place and instead of shooting we were trying to force passes to him." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on whether players were trying too hard to get Zach Parise his 300th career goal
They Said It
"You can't get frustrated in times like that. You just have to keep plugging away and trusting the system and trusting each other. Tonight, we did that." -- Devils forward Adam Henrique on growing frustration with offensive struggles
Dan's Three Stars
* Devan Dubnyk
** Joel Eriksson Ek
*** Matt Dumba