LAS VEGAS – It was a preventable situation in Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk’s mind.
He reached for a rebound and couldn’t snatch it, leaving him vulnerable once Golden Knights winger Mark Stone scooped up the puck and veered around the net.
“I was kind of in trouble,” Dubnyk said. “You just gotta find the shortest route back there.”
Dubnyk discovered it, stretching out his glove just in time to catch a piece of Stone’s wraparound along the goal line, a jaw-dropping stop that helped maintain a Wild lead the team would ultimately transform into a season-saving 3-2 win Friday at T-Mobile Arena.
“That was crazy,” winger Jason Zucker said. “That’s save of the year worthy right there. … You always need goalies to make one big save like that at critical points in the game, and Duby’s done that a lot for us this year and he did it tonight.”
In all, Dubnyk made 35 saves and secured a slew of milestones in the process.
He posted his league-leading 19th road win of the season, one shy of tying his career-high set in 2014-15. This was also his 78th road victory with the Wild, surpassing Niklas Backstrom’s 77 to set a franchise record.
The netminder also recorded his 30th victory of the season, his fifth consecutive season reaching that plateau. He’s the only Wild goalie to accomplish that feat in more than two seasons, and only one other goalie has an active streak of five or more straight 30-win seasons (Washington’s Braden Holtby at five).
“He was huge,” Zucker said. “We definitely don’t win that game without him playing the way he did. It was huge.”
Dubnyk wasn’t the only one who stood out Friday.
Center Eric Staal continued his prowess against Vegas, scoring a goal and adding an assist. He has 10 career points in six games against the Golden Knights, ranking third in the NHL for most points vs. Vegas.
“Sometimes you’ve got certain teams you feel good against,” Staal said. “Puck goes your way a little bit. Tonight it did, and it was important points that we need to have. It was a good win.”
Defenseman Greg Pateryn notched his first goal of the season in the first period when he opened the scoring for the Wild, a shot from along the goal line that caromed off Golden Knights goalie Malcolm Subban and sailed behind him.
“Not at all,” Pateryn said when asked if he was surprised the puck tumbled into the net. “He looked a little wobbly. Thought I’d throw it at his feet. I scored a couple in pregame skate this morning, so I was feeling it.”
Winger Kevin Fiala ended up with the game-winning goal, a finish on the power play that snapped his 10-game goalless skid and rang up as his third tally with the Wild. Fiala was rewarded with ice time late in the game as the Wild tried to preserve its one-goal lead, an opportunity coach Bruce Boudreau hopes reinforces to Fiala the value of being responsible all over the ice.
“He did a good job,” Boudreau said.