The Wild’s crew of defensemen was certainly busy Saturday trying to slow down a Blues offense that peppered goalie Devan Dubnyk with shots.
But the unit was also active at the other end of the ice, with Matt Dumba helping set up the team’s first goal and then burying the clincher in overtime to give the Wild a 2-1 win over the Blues Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.
“I think our forwards are getting more comfortable with that,” Dumba said. “All is good when you’re winning.”
Dumba’s offensive prowess seems to have been revitalized his last two games alongside Ryan Suter – a shuffle in the pairings that occurred after Jared Spurgeon was sidelined with a groin strain. Since the move to the No.1 unit, Dumba has chipped in a goal and two assists amid seven shots.
“The more games he can play like that, the more he's going to learn what his game is going to be and it's going to be fantastic,” Dubnyk said. “I think everybody forgets how young he is. He's been here as long as I have. What is he? Like 23 years old. He's going to find what his game is that he can play night in and night out, and we're starting to see that more and more. He's going to be a pretty outstanding defenseman. He already is.”
Here’s what else to watch for after the Wild’s win over the Blues.
- The Wild debuted two defensemen in overtime and just one forward, a matchup that obviously suited the team as the Dumba-Jonas Brodin-Charlie Coyle unit produced the game-winning goal just 39 seconds into the extra period.
“It worked,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Matt looked like he was shot out of a cannon when he picked up the puck. I thought it was great.”
Dumba led the rush up ice before passing off to Coyle, who sent the puck back toward Dumba for the finish.
“Dumbs was pretty good bringing it out, getting some speed,” Coyle said. “I just tried to turn the corner and get as much speed as I can and create an odd-man rush and beat that guy, and he made a nice play. Tried to shoot it but it looks like I passed it. But tried to shoot, went under his stick.”
- Dubnyk was strong between the pipes, as his 41 saves tied a season-high.
He was extremely effective on the penalty kill and amid a fierce push by the Blues in the second and third periods when they put 30 shots on net.
“You just have to find the puck,” Dubnyk said. “That's the biggest thing. They throw a lot of bodies, a lot of pucks at the net and so the most important thing is making sure to find the puck through anyway possible whether it's over the top or through shin pads. You've got to keep your eye on it. Then when it comes to the net, you have to battle and work harder than the guys that are trying to whack it in. It's a challenge, but it feels good when it works.”
- Defenseman Nate Prosser didn’t look out of place in his first game of the season with the Wild against his former team, skating in 17:08 and blocking three shots after getting claimed by the Wild from the Blues Thursday.
“Other than the one giveaway where he probably thought the guy was still on his team, I thought he was pretty solid,” Boudreau said. “A couple good hits, and Nate did what we knew he does. He plays just a safe game. That’s all we ask of him.”