Dubnyk stands tall early, Wild pull away from Devils

Dan Myers  - NHL.com Correspondent | Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 12:36 AM

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Tuesday was a banner day for Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher and his group of newcomers.

The Wild got a goal from Sean Bergenheim, a two-point game from Chris Stewart and 30 saves from Devan Dubnyk in a 6-2 win against the New Jersey Devils at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild are three points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Winnipeg lost 5-4 to the St. Louis Blues.

Minnesota (37-23-7) has won six of its past seven games and nine of 11 to climb within three points of the Chicago Blackhawks for third place in the Central Division.

The goal was Bergenheim's first with the Wild. In his previous six games since being acquired from the Florida Panthers on Feb. 24, Bergenheim had been held without a point, and coach Mike Yeo dropped him to the fourth line with center Kyle Brodziak and right wing Erik Haula on Tuesday in an effort to spark him.

The move worked; Bergenheim not only scored, he hounded the puck all night.

"You can look at [being moved to the fourth line] as a punishment if you want, but it really wasn't," Yeo said. "We were surrounding him with a couple of players that would help him play the kind of game he needs to play. He responded really well and that line was dangerous all night."

Starting his 26th consecutive game, the longest streak in the NHL since 2011-12, it was Dubnyk who kept the Wild afloat in the first period before their offense took over.

Dubnyk, who Fletcher got from the Arizona Coyotes in a Jan. 14 trade, made 15 saves in the first, several of the Grade A variety, to keep the game scoreless until Bergenheim scored at 18:57.

"There were a lot of uncomfortable moments out there," Yeo said. [Dubnyk] was excellent the second half of the first period. We were really good the first half, then they started to take over. He gave us a chance to settle things down a little bit and grab that lead. That was huge."

Bergenheim scored on a shot from the left circle off a Brodziak pass from behind the net. It was his ninth goal, first since Jan. 29.

"This was a better day," Bergenheim said. "I think there's still stuff that can be improved and I'm going to keep on working on those things."

Stewart scored his 13th goal, second with Minnesota, on a rebound 13 seconds into the second period for a 2-0 Wild lead.

Stewart also assisted on Minnesota's next goal for his first multipoint game since being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres minutes before the NHL Trade Deadline on March 2. Defenseman Jared Spurgeon one-timed a perfect set-up by Mikael Granlund from the right face-off circle at 4:23.

New Jersey (28-29-10) closed within 3-1 at 10:03 when Dainius Zubrus scored his first goal since opening night, ending a 49-game goal drought.

Thomas Vanek scored his first goal of the night when he cleaned up a rebound in front of goaltender Cory Schneider at 13:01.

"They were hungry, they beat us to loose pucks and really took over the area in front of the net," said Devils interim co-coach Lou Lamoriello.

Minnesota went ahead 5-1 at 1:18 of the third period when Jason Pominville capped a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play with a blast from the slot that eluded Schneider's blocker.

Schneider was lifted 12 seconds later for Keith Kinkaid, having allowed five goals on 30 shots. It was the first time since Dec. 13 Schneider had allowed more than three goals in an appearance, a span of 28 games.

"When you don't come prepared to play from the goalie on out, it's going to be a long night," Schneider said. "As a group we know we can all be better."

"We let [Schneider] down in front of the net," Devils forward Scott Gomez said. "There's one we're never gonna blame and it's him. It starts with him, and he's one of the best in the world. We have to be stronger for him for sure."

Vanek scored his second of the game on a tip-in at 8:18, and Gomez answered 22 seconds later on a tap-in from the side of the net.

Forward Steve Bernier assisted on each Devils goal. He has five assists over the past two games.

Wild forward Zach Parise, playing in his third game against his former team, had two assists.

"Right from the start we were ready to play," Parise said. "We did a good job of pressuring their D-men into making some mistakes and getting a lot of zone time because of that. I thought our transition was really good too. We pick up the puck a lot and got there before they were able to set up in their 1-2-2, so that was a big part of our game."

Kinkaid made seven saves over the final 18:30.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
18:57MIN Sean Bergenheim (9) ASST: Kyle Brodziak (11), Erik Haula (6) 1 - 0 MIN
2nd Period
00:13MIN Chris Stewart (13) ASST: Mikko Koivu (29), Nino Niederreiter (12) 2 - 0 MIN
04:23MIN Jared Spurgeon (8) ASST: Mikael Granlund (23), Chris Stewart (16) 3 - 0 MIN
10:03NJD Dainius Zubrus (3) ASST: Steve Bernier (13), Patrik Elias (19) 3 - 1 MIN
13:01MIN Thomas Vanek (15) ASST: Charlie Coyle (20), Justin Fontaine (15) 4 - 1 MIN
3rd Period
01:18MIN Jason Pominville (16) ASST: Jared Spurgeon (12), Zach Parise (25) 5 - 1 MIN
08:18MIN PPG - Thomas Vanek (16) ASST: Zach Parise (26), Ryan Suter (30) 6 - 1 MIN
08:40NJD Scott Gomez (6) ASST: Steve Bernier (14), Damon Severson (9) 6 - 2 MIN
Three Stars of the Game
Jared Spurgeon
Jared Spurgeon
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 19:45
Chris Stewart
Chris Stewart
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 18:51
Sean Bergenheim
Sean Bergenheim
G: 1Shots: 5
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 11:33
Penalty Summary
1st Period
02:11NJD Eric Gelinas  Hi-sticking against  Sean Bergenheim
2nd Period
02:13NJD Mark Fraser  Roughing against  Jordan Leopold
3rd Period
06:59NJD Mark Fraser  Hooking against  Nino Niederreiter
10:06NJD Stephen Gionta  Slashing against  Matt Dumba
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/01/4
Faceoff Wins2831
Blocked Shots134
Penalty Minutes80
5A. LarssonD00-33020:29
6A. GreeneD00-31020:53
7J. MerrillD0000023:05
8D. ZubrusC10-13015:22
10P. HarroldD00-10010:35
11S. GiontaC00-13217:14
14A. HenriqueC0001014:35
15T. RuutuL00-1108:39
16J. JosefsonC00-12012:02
18S. BernierR0212013:35
19T. ZajacC00-11017:40
20J. TootooR00-23016:46
21S. GomezC1002014:52
22E. GelinasD0002216:56
23M. CammalleriL00-12017:17
26P. EliasC0101015:14
28D. SeversonD0102019:23
32M. FraserD00-13418:04
1K. Kinkaid78.87518:30
35C. Schneider2530.83341:30
3C. CoyleC0111011:37
9M. KoivuC0111019:03
11Z. PariseL0214018:03
14J. FontaineR0112012:37
20R. SuterD0101025:43
21K. BrodziakC0101011:59
22N. NiederreiterR0113018:44
23S. BergenheimL1005011:33
25J. BrodinD0000021:20
26T. VanekL2013014:54
29J. PominvilleR1014016:52
33J. LeopoldD0022016:24
39N. ProsserD0002013:56
44C. StewartR1113018:51
46J. SpurgeonD1132019:45
55M. DumbaD0012019:42
56E. HaulaC0101011:36
64M. GranlundC0111017:29
40D. Dubnyk3032.93859:52