Minnesota Wild Shutout Buffalo Sabres, 7-0


12. 7. 98. Final. 0

Welcome to the first day of the Devan Dubnyk era, folks. The newest member of the Minnesota Wild backstopped the team to a 7-0 victory and an end to their 6-game losing streak. 

I want to be more excited about this victory, Wild fans. It’s great that the Wild ended a long losing streak. It’s great that 7 different players tallied a goal. The Wild needed to win this game to garner some confidence. I hope that this serves as a stepping stone for better things to come. One thing to consider is the fact that the Wild returned to a structured, dominant puck possession game and ran up a huge score on the floundering Buffalo Sabres. There are things to be excited about, but its one game on a quest for 23 wins to make the playoffs.

First Period:

With the exception of a brief flurry by the much larger Buffalo Sabres squad, Devan Dubnyk’s first 20 minutes as a member of the Minnesota Wild were pretty quiet. I really liked his positioning in net, though. He’s a big guy and acts like it. He’s also really aggressive with his passing without being senseless about it.

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Zach Parise

was an absolute beast tonight and it paid off with a first period goal. Parise and

Mikko Koivu

jammed away at a loose puck in the crease. Parise fired a backhander that ultimately snuck through goaltender

Jhonas Enroth

, but the light never came on and the linesman waved the goal off as the Wild celebrated. The replay showed the net popped up around the time the goal crossed the line. After a lengthy video review, it was determined that the puck crossed the goal line before the net came loose so the ruling on the ice was overturned and a good goal was declared.

1-0 Wild at 05:13 of the first period.

Jason Pominville

earned the second assist, moving him in to T-3


for points at the First Niagra Center.

The Wild’s first chance with the man advantage lasted 31 seconds before Thomas Vanek earned the gate, creating a 4-on-4. I still don’t like the 4-on-4 units for the Wild.

Mathew Dumba, recalled after playing really well in Iowa for the baby Wild, decided to get in to a fight. Nicolas Deslauriers took a few big hits near the Wild bench with the last hit he was willing to tolerate coming from the young blueliner and dropped the gloves with Deslauriers. As the fight broke, neither player won clearly, but Dumba looked worse for wear.

The more I watch, the more I like the Jason ZuckerCharlie CoyleNino Niederreiter line. Zucker used his speed to drive the Sabres mad, drawing a penalty in the first as he crashed the net.

On the ensuing power play, Vanek put the Wild up by a pair. Vanek, camped out just inside the right face-off dot, took a pass from Koivu along the half-wall and fired a laser fast one-timer past Enroth before hitting the far goal post and in to the bet. 2-0 Wild at 19:01 of the first period.

Shots after one period: Minnesota Wild 15, Buffalo Sabres 3

Second Period:

Zucker sent the Sabres to its first full power play of the night at the 5 minute mark. The Sabres fired four shots on goal before Andrej Meszaros gave away the puck at the blue line to the oh-so-speedy Erik Haula. Haula’s breakaway bid was denied by Enroth; however, Haula caught his own rebound along the boards and flipped the puck over to Kyle Brodziak who had a wide open net to fire at. Brodziak made it 3-0 Wild at 06:00 of the second period. Haula played a really strong game tonight and made an awesome secondary effort to complete the short-handed bid.

Vanek had a pair of quality chances from the goalmouth gloved down by Enroth just after the penalty expired. As with Haula, Vanek played at another level and showed great secondary effort.

Dumba added a goal of his own in the 9th minute. After accepting a miraculous pass from Pominville, Dumba fired his wicked slap shot from the point that beat Enroth’s trapper with a vapor trail.

4-0 Wild at 09:06 of the second period.

Jared Spurgeon sent the Wild back to the penalty kill around the 11th minute. Holding the Sabres without a shot on goal, the Wild spent a vast majority of the penalty kill in the Buffalo zone.

Speaking of the Wild Spurgeon, he added a goal of his own. Spurgeon grabbed a nice pass from

Jonathon Blum

and fired a slap shot from just above the left face-off dot that hugged the short side post on its way in to the net. I’m pretty convinced Niederreiter tipped it in on the way, but that might be because he’s on my fantasy hockey team. Blum tallied his first NHL point of the season with the primary assist.

5-0 Wild at 18:54 of the second period.

The Wild ended the second period with a power play that was pretty low-key. I imagine the Wild was trying to keep the game respectful, which is admirable.

Shots through two periods: Minnesota Wild 27, Buffalo Sabres 13

Third Period:

A Brodziak takeaway from Meszaros led to Minnesota’s 6th goal of the night, though it was essentially a bad bounce by the Sabres. Brodziak set up

Justin Fontaine


Matt Cooke

. Cooke got a deflection of the puck on goal that would’ve been harmless, but it hit the skate of

Philip Varone

and slid in to the goal to make it

6-0 Wild at 04:26 of the third period.

The Wild had 2 power plays between the 6th and 10th minutes. Yeo sent out several 3rd and 4th line players as the standard power play units took a break.
It took eight minutes and 26 seconds of the third period before the Sabres fired a shot on goal in the third period. I’m not entirely positive Dubnyk was awake the entire game. At least his first game with the Wild was easy.

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    Nate Prosser

    in to the wall in the 16th minute and earned a penalty for some extra-curricular elbowing. The Wild responded with a goal on its only shot at Enroth. Haula, who got his second chance of the night with the man advantage, skated freely down the slot and snapped off a shot that beat Enroth over his glove. Like retribution for missing his earlier breakaway, Haula made it

    7-0 Wild at 18:27 of the third period.

    Touchdown, Wild.

    Final shots on goal: Minnesota Wild 37, Buffalo Sabres 18

    Trembley’s Take:

    I know it’s Buffalo, but the Wild needed a win and they got it. Every player on the ice for the Wild had awesome second effort. 6 separate players had multi-point games and only 6 players didn’t register a point.

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  • I mentioned it above, but I quite enjoyed Dubnyk’s game. It’s really hard to evaluate an 18 save performance as a true quality start, but his passing was crisp and his rebound control was excellent. Remember when Enroth was a possibility?

    The entire defensive corps really stepped their collective game up. Dumba made a statement with his game, though I really don’t think he should have fought the much bigger Deslauriers. Oh well.

    Parise is now tied with Jason Zucker for team lead in goals with 15. Pominville’s 3-point night puts him at 36 (9g-27a) points on the season, good for team lead in that category.

    Haula, who played well in the loss to Pittsburgh, played even better tonight. I’ve been really critical of him; however, if he can keep up this type of performance, the Wild is in for good things from the former Golden Gopher.

    Talk to you on Saturday, when the Wild take on the Arizona Coyotes for Hockey Day Minnesota, which I think should be an official holiday.