The swoon seems to be officially over.
The Minnesota Wild went into their third consecutive road game and beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 after going into the third period tied. Mikael Granlund was the hero as he picked off an awful pass by Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry and made a move around a blockaded Carey Price to score the only goal of the game.
So, after winning their third consecutive game and four of the past five games, what did we learn about the Minnesota Wild?
Thing 1: Devan Dubnyk is showing why he is an All-Star
Yes, yes, I understand that many of you will throw a tantrum with this headline and even though Devan Dubnyk might not have been the top Wild member deserving of the nomination, he has come up big for the Wild on numerous occasions thus far and is proving his worthiness of the bid. His play against the Canadiens was just another one of those occasions.
On Monday, Dubnyk showed again why he is a top goaltender in this league. When the Wild desperately needed him, he showed up stopping all 32 shots that came his way and earned his first shutout of the season. In a goalie duel with Carey Price, Dubnyk out dueled the highly regarded Price. A 1-0 shutout for a goalie can do wonders in the confidence department and Dubnyk proved why his All-Star nod isn’t all that far-fetched.
As far as him not having a great November and early December, I look at it as him getting his once-a-year slump out of the way. Hopefully, that Devan Dubnyk is behind us and he continues his stellar performance of late.
Thing 2: The Wild can grind out a win
It was beginning to feel like the Wild were getting in a habit of losing close games, especially when entering the third period tied, up by one or down by one. Last night was a different story however. The Wild came out in the third period tied 0-0 and ground out a big win on the road.
Hopefully the Wild have turned the tables and become a great third period team down the stretch as they will most likely need to be if they want any shot in making the playoffs.
Thing 3: The Power-Play is coming
The Wild again came up short on the man advantage once again on Monday, as they went 0 for 3. But, that’s not to say they didn’t generate chances. The Wild had three or four chances to score a man up, but with a combination of Carey Price, Canadiens defenseman getting a stick on the puck, and Wild players missing the net, they failed to take the lead in the hockey game on the man advantage.
I’m an optimist and have the glass half full about this power-play heading forward. Without Matt Dumba they have looked lost in the past several games on the man advantage, but last night it seemed to be heading in the right direction. I wouldn’t be that surprised if the Wild poke one or two in on the power-play tonight against the Boston Bruins.