sports 2 days ago

Wild capture first win of season over Jets

Star Tribune (Minneapolis) — By Sarah McLellan Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Jan. 13-- ST. PAUL, Minn.-The margin of victory could have been much wider in the early stages, a gap that reflected the mismatch that played out on the ice.

But not until the waning minutes did the score finally catch up with the feel of the game, as the Wild pulled away late for a 4-1 win over the Jets on Saturday in front of 19,207 at Xcel Energy Center that locked up two crucial points against a Central Division rival that had swept the previous three meetings and improved the Wild to 12-1-2 at home since Nov.14.

In his 200th game with the Wild, goalie Devan Dubnyk-who's awaiting the arrival of his third son any day now-made 32 saves to stymie the Jets, while defenseman Matt Dumba added two third-period insurance goals.

Winnipeg looked like a team that skated the night before, falling 2-1 to the Blackhawks in Chicago, although goalie Connor Hellebuyck didn't appear weary at all despite suiting up for back-to-back games. In fact, he was easily the Jets' best player, stopping 37 shots. The Wild tied a season-high with 41 shots.

Twenty-two of Hellebuyck's saves came in the first period-Hellebuyck turned aside 25 shots in total Friday-but the Wild converted only once despite spending a chunk of the period in the Jets' end.

On the team's first power-play chance, winger Mikael Granlund redirected a Ryan Suter shot past Hellebuyck 8 minutes, 47 seconds into the period for just the Wild's third goal with the man advantage in its past 20 opportunities.

Later in the period, the Wild had 1:17 of 5-on-3 power-play time but couldn't capitalize. Overall, the team finished 1 for 4.

The Wild continued to press in the second, with winger Jason Zucker finally finding the team's second goal.

Not long after his backhand attempt after he got behind the Jets defense was blocked by Hellebuyck, Zucker buried a bounce off the end boards at 5:40 for his first goal in eight games.

With an assist on the play, Granlund notched his fifth in his last three games and 13th in his past nine. He also tallied his 50th multi-point effort in the NHL and fifth in his last nine games.

After a sluggish start, the Jets got better-as expected. The Central Division leaders put 17 shots on net in the second and came close on a couple tries. The team's best look of the period was a short-handed breakaway by winger Joel Armia, but Dubnyk poke-checked the puck away from Armia before he could get a shot off.

The Jets began the third period with 1:50 of power-play time, and that helped them finally solve Dubnyk.

Captain Blake Wheeler setup winger Mathieu Perreault for a can't-miss redirect in front just 47 seconds into the period. Winnipeg ended up going 1 for 2 with the man advantage.

At 6:23, Dumba delivered a much-needed insurance goal with a blistering shot over Hellebuyck's glove after accepting a no-look drop pass by winger Marcus Foligno.

The goal cooled off the Jets' rally, but the Wild kept pushing-with Dumba recording his second of the game with 6:28 to go. Foligno and center Charlie Coyle also tallied two-point nights, as they assisted on both of Dumba's goals.


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