OTTAWA – Darcy Kuemper had to wait nearly three weeks for a measure of redemption. Matt Dumba? A day.
Kuemper stopped 35 of 36 shots and Dumba scored the game-winner in overtime in the Wild’s 2-1 victory over the Senators on Sunday night.
Back on Oct. 23 Kuemper allowed five goals in a 6-3 loss in New York against the Islanders. Since then he’s worked hard in practice and waited for another chance. It came Sunday, when he was solid at the start and only got better as the Wild (8-5-1) won for the second time in three games.
Dumba? In Saturday’s loss in Philadelphia, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau called him out for being out of position on the Flyers’ game-tying goal. But he shook that off.
“It was what it was last night,’’ he said. “But you have to move on, put that behind you. We were playing in a back-to-back, and you can’t let that bother you.’’
The teams traded scoring chances through the first minutes of the overtime. Then, with 1 minute, 3 seconds left in the extra session Mikael Granlund got a shot through to Senators goaltender Craig Anderson (40 saves). Dumba was able to pounce on the rebound. He didn’t get a great shot off, but it rolled past Anderson for the winner.
The Wild, which has struggled mightily since the 3-on-3 overtime was instituted, is now 2-10 in those situations.
“That’s what pros do,” Boudreau said of Dumba, who got his second goal and fifth point of the season.
Minnesota was able to kill three Senators power plays in the first 20 minutes, and went ahead 1-0 on Ryan Suter’s shorthanded goal.
Granlund’s high-sticking penalty put the Senators on their third power play with 1:36 left in the period. But, 12 seconds later, Suter broke out of the Wild zone with the puck, then sent it to Eric Staal coming down the right wing into the Ottawa zone. Staal went high with the backhand. Anderson made the save, but the rebound came to Suter to the left of the goal, and he buried it.
For a while it looked as if it might hold up. By his own admission Kuemper was a little rusty early, giving up some rebounds. But he got better.
“It’s hard to be clean with rebounds when you’ve been off so long,’’ he said. “Fortunately, the guys battled and cleared some pucks. With the way they were playing, I knew if I stayed big and made the first play they’d help me out.’’
Boudreau said it helped that the first few shots Kuemper faced were from long range, shots he was able to see.
“He was really good,’’ Boudreau said. “And we’re really happy for him. He hadn’t played in a while. And, in the last game, he’d admit he wasn’t as sharp as he’d like to be. But this kid got back into the fray.’’
Ottawa tied it on Kyle Turris’ shot from the right circle 5:06 into the third period.
But this time in overtime, the Wild did a great job of keeping shifts short and changing. And the result was several chances. Dumba final capitalized.
“I didn’t get much on it,’’ he said. “But it was enough.’’