A 3-2 overtime win over the Ducks Friday at Honda Center wasn’t just redemption for the Wild after it bobbled a third-period lead earlier in the week in a loss to the Kings.
It was also an opportunity for defenseman Matt Dumba to rebound, and he did – scoring the game-deciding goal in the extra period while skating a career-high 30 minutes, 4 seconds.
“I think he likes overtime,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He’s such a good skater, and he gets to roam a little bit. It works out really good for him.”
Dumba was on the ice for the Wild’s third-period meltdown against the Kings Tuesday, as he was caught out of position when the Kings broke out for a two-on-one that ended up as the first of four unanswered goals in the period for Los Angeles en route to its 5-2 victory.
But against the Ducks, Dumba helped the Wild have a better push. He had a game-high six shots on goal, and the last one came 3:43 into overtime after he cut to the middle. Once inside, he slid the puck around Ducks goalie John Gibson.
“I think you kind of have to be patient,” Dumba said. “First shift with Jonas (Brodin) I just followed (Ducks winger Rickard) Rakell around the ice for a whole minute. You’re not trying to take too many risks at the start. You’re just looking for those breakdowns, and we stayed patient. It worked out.”
Here’s what else to watch for after the Wild’s overtime win over the Ducks.
- The Wild’s fourth line chipped in a goal for a second straight game.
Winger Zack Mitchell pounded on a loose puck in front to put the Wild ahead 2-1 in the second period.
“They were good,” Boudreau said. “I thought they controlled the play on their line when they were on the ice and they were responsible, which is what you want them to do.”
- Reconfiguring the forward lines didn’t ignite an offensive outburst, but the Wild certainly had better chances.
Winger Nino Niederreiter hit the post, and winger Jason Zucker had a backhander stopped by Gibson. Zucker also had a shot that went wide, Dumba’s redirect in the crease went over the top and a two-on-one between wingers Chris Stewart and Tyler Ennis fizzled – all this before Zucker and Mitchell capitalized.
“If we're creating like that, we're certainly going to be getting more than two goals in regulation,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “The guys are doing a great job going to the net. We were working on some different plays how to create open space and get the other team confused and from my angle, we were doing a great job of that. That's nice to see because then guys will start to get rewarded.”
- Veteran center Matt Cullen was scratched for the first time this season, a decision Boudreau made following Tuesday’s loss to the Kings.
“We’ve got a lot of games coming up,” Boudreau said. “ I found that when we played a lot of games in a row, sometimes he looked tired. He’s 41. He’s going to be playing Sunday, but I thought four days off would be better than two coming into this stretch. So it was nothing other than that because he was coming off probably his best game in a while and he played his most minutes in a while in LA.”
Asked how Cullen took the news, Boudreau said, “He handled it like any pro. He didn’t like it, and I didn’t expect him to like it. That’s why he’s been a champion his whole life.”