Devan Dubnyk‘s 27 saves, plus three more in a shootout, were enough to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night and maintain their five-point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division.
The win gives Dubnyk a league-leading 30 victories on the season. It is also the third consecutive year he has topped the 30-win mark, all of them coming since he joined the Wild. The only goal he allowed on Friday night came by way of a Brayden Point deflection late in the second period. Nino Neiderreiter scored the lone goal in regulation for the Wild (his 18th of the season) while captain Mikko Koivu was able to score the only goal in the shootout to give the Wild the win.
Koivu’s goal, which you can see in the video above, was a beauty of a backhander that beat Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
For the Lightning, the night turned out to be a bit of a good news, bad news situation.
On one hand, they picked up an important point and is the third consecutive game they have done so, earning five out of a possible six over their past three games. They were also able to do that on a night where they were not particularly sharp and needed to rely on Vasilevsky to make 37 saves through regulation and overtime.
But they still failed to get that all important extra point in the standings. And in the process failed to win three consecutive games once again, something they have not done since the middle of November.
Even by earning five out of a possible six points over their past three games they still remain five points out of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and have six teams sitting between them and that spot.
They are back in action on Saturday in Winnipeg against the Jets.