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Dubnyk halts Flames' backdraft in 1-0 shutout

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild came in to Thursday night's match-up against the Flames needing a regulation win. See, the Flames hold the final wild card position in the standings and the Wild trailed them by seven points entering the night's action. The Wild needed to take two points and give none, like KFAN radio personality Paul Allen would say. You could say Devan Dubnyk, in just his sixth game in a Wild sweater, took the two points from the Flames, and gave none...literally and figuratively. Dubnyk didn't give up a goal en route to his second shutout with the Wild and 11th of his career.

Minnesota did well to limit the Flames' shots through the first period, only giving up eight shots on goal. The Wild did well to block shots and get into passing lanes all night long. The Wild out shot-blocked the leading shot-blocking team in the league with 19 blocked shots in the game.  That didn't mean that Dubnyk didn't have to be fantastic though. Jonas Hiller was no slouch himself in net for the Flames either. Jason Pominville and Jason Zucker might be seeing Hiller's matte black goalie mask with a gold grill in haunting them in their dreams. Many times throughout the game, those two had Grade A chances to extend the Wild's lead, but couldn't get one by Hiller.

Zack Parise was the game's lone goal scorer. It came at the 8:59 mark of the first period, and the Saddledome faithful had to sit on their hands as Dubnyk turned every Flames shot away. Parise's goal came after Thomas Vanek disrupted a breakout pass near the slot and Parise gathered it in and put it past Hiller.

Dubnyk turned away dazzling stick-handling attempts by Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and a breakaway chance by Paul Byron. The goalie had to stand tall in the final minute of the game as the Flames pulled Hiller and really pressed for the game-tying goal. A big toe save for Dubnyk would turn away the Flames for the final time of the night securing the two points in the standings.

Ryan Suter only saw 23:39 time on ice because Marco Scandella was just awesome all game long. He was the TOI leader with just over 25 minutes. Both teams traded single power play chances with little success. Johnny Gaudreau was a treat to watch. The kid has amazing stick-handling abilities and very good speed. Johnny Hockey will be a solid player in the NHL one day.

The Wild may have won this battle, but the war is far from over. Also, don't count this Calgary Flames team out. They play a fast game with a good defensive structure and have some real talent on the team. They're young, but they have enough talent to hold on to the wild card spot.