DENVER – In the middle of a scoreless third period Saturday afternoon, Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk got a tad fiery.
After Dubnyk was contacted a couple of times at the top of the crease by Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog as he battled with countryman Jonas Brodin, Dubnyk finally gave Landeskog a little whack in the back of the leg.
When Landeskog turned around to push back, Dubnyk grabbed the forward and got into a nasty scuffle behind the net. Afterward, Dubnyk even motioned for goalie Calvin Pickard, who had skated near the Avs blue line, to come on down and join the fray.
“There’s emotion in the game,” Dubnyk said. “I battle with him every time we play. That’s his game. He’s a great hockey player that plays hard and he’s in and around the crease. Sometimes those get left alone, and sometimes he turns around and wants to continue going.”
The incident seemed to awake the Pepsi Center crowd and the Avalanche, which put the Wild on its heels in the first part of the third period. Eventually, after the Wild killed Dubnyk’s penalty, Landeskog scored a power-play goal after a Christoph Bertschy minor.
“A little hack on the calf and it was my turn to give it back,” Landeskog said. “It was pretty even. I don’t think there’s a villain and a good guy in that fight.
“That blocker hurts. I wish I had a blocker in a situation like that, and he’s got a mask to protect himself. That stuff happens. It’s a division game and things are supposed to happen. Not a big deal.”
Added Avs coach Jared Bednar: “Dubnyk didn’t really give him much choice. There’s stuff going on in front the net and he grabs him and holds him in there. If the guy’s going to block him in the face, you might as well fight back.”
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau has given his assistants, Scott Stevens and John Anderson, a lot of responsibility.
“I’ve left Scott alone to run the defense and determine ice times,” Boudreau said. “Maybe we’ll talk in intermission, but he can put on who he wants, when he wants. Maybe on the power play I’ll say I want things switched up.
“But they have full autonomy. I have full in faith in them and hopefully there’s not a lot of times I say, ‘I don’t want to play that guy anymore.’ ”
Boudreau switches the forwards, but Anderson is running “90 percent of the power play.”
“I’ve always thought it was something I did well, so I help him with what I’d like to see and let him go about doing it,” he said.
Welcome to Iowa
Teemu Pulkkinen, assigned to Iowa by the Wild after scoring one goal in eight games, made his Iowa debut at Grand Rapids, where he once led the AHL in goal scoring, on Friday night.
“It’s been crazy the last few weeks for me going to Minnesota and then here and changing places and living in hotels,” Pulkkinen, claimed off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings, told the Grand Rapids Press. “My goal is to play in the NHL so I have to work hard to get back.”
Pulkkinen told the newspaper he didn’t play great in Minnesota but didn’t expect to be sent down.
“They didn’t tell me too much other than they needed some flexibility in their system. I don’t know what that means, but that’s what they told me,” Pulkkinen said.
• Prospect Alex Tuch scored his first AHL goal in his ninth game with Iowa during the 4-1 loss Friday.