It’s been a tough month personally for Devan Dubnyk, who took time off to attend to a family issue. Now the Wild goalie is back and starting to feel like himself again.
Dubnyk recorded his first shutout of the season and Joel Eriksson Ek and Luke Kunin each scored for Minnesota in the Wild’s 3-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday.
Dubnyk made 22 saves in his third game, and second start, since missing extended time. He earned wins in both of his starts since his return.
“I just tried to come back from the break and just go in and feel confident and be myself,” Dubnyk said. “It feels good to go out there and do that and just forget everything else and then see where we are at the end of the year.”
Eriksson Ek returned to action after missing four games with an injury and put Minnesota on the board early in the second period. Eriksson Ek took a centring pass from linemate Kevin Fiala and scored past Flames goalie Cam Talbot at 15:09 of the second.
Eriksson Ek last played on Dec. 14 against Philadelphia when he suffered an upper body injury. He was activated from the injured reserve on Sunday. Monday’s goal was his first since Dec. 5.
“You can tell he adds something to the team,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said of Eriksson Ek. “There was a reason we went a lot of games undefeated and he was one of the big reasons.”
Kunin made it 2-0 just over five minutes after Eriksson Ek’s goal. Jordan Greenway fed the puck from behind the net to Kunin, who beat Talbot to his right.
“I thought we gave them a few really good chances in the second, and they capitalized on a couple of them,” Calgary captain Mark Giordano said.
Calgary had a goal disallowed with 6:01 to play in the third period. Derek Ryan appeared to cut Minnesota’s lead to 2-1, but the goal was reviewed and officials ruled that Ryan kicked the loose puck into the net after Dubnyk made the initial save.
Eric Staal added an empty-net goal with 2:43 remaining to seal Minnesota’s 3-0 win.
Dubnyk thwarted one of the few good scoring chances Calgary had in the first two periods when he made a pad save on a shot by Matthew Tkachuk midway through the second.
Monday’s win helped the Wild bounce back from a lopsided 6-0 loss to Winnipeg on Saturday. That was Minnesota’s worst defeat of the season.
“Obviously last game wasn’t ideal at all, so we wanted to come out and kind of show that it was a fluke and those things do happen,” Greenway said. “We’re back and we’re ready to go.”
Minnesota hasn’t played at home much so far this season. The Wild’s 15 games at Xcel Energy Center are the fewest home games of any team in the NHL this season. Minnesota is 10-2-3 at home after Monday’s win. Calgary is 9-10-2 on the road.
Talbot stopped 25 shots for Calgary. He drops to 3-7-0 in 11 games this season.
Monday marked the second game of a back-to-back for Calgary, which beat the Stars in Dallas by a 5-1 final Sunday.
“Everyone plays back-to-backs,” Talbot said. “If you’re not feeling it, try to make the easy play, the smart play and get it deep.”
Minnesota is now 8-3-1 against the Western Conference’s Pacific division. The Wild have 28 points since Nov. 14, tops in the NHL. Staal has 12 points in his last 10 games.
Flames: At Edmonton on Friday night.
Wild: At Colorado on Friday night.