Since the middle of January, the Minnesota Wild have transformed from a team in despair to a team on a mission. Having superb goaltending helps, and Devan Dubnyk has continued his stellar play since being traded out of Arizona.
On Friday, the Wild managed enough scoring in the third period, despite playing for the second time in as many nights, to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes by a final score of 3-1. Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise scored goals less than two minutes apart in the final period to give Minnesota the lead, which it wouldn’t give up.
The Wild have won five in a row. Since the start of February, Minnesota has lost only three times.
The 28-year-old Dubnyk made 37 saves against the Hurricanes in what was his 23rd consecutive start. His current run is impressive. Then, look over to goals allowed, and he hasn’t conceded more than two goals in a game since Feb. 16. That’s a span of nine games.
The Wild move to 79 points in the Central Division.
Less than 10 minutes into Friday’s game, and the Calgary Flames found themselves down 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wings. At that point, the shots were 9-2 in favor of the host Red Wings.
To take a page from CFL Calgary Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel, the Flames apparently had the Red Wings right where they want them. Playing for the second time in as many days, and third time in four days, the Flames stormed back to a 5-2 victory, despite Detroit dominating puck possession numbers, with 64 shot attempts compared to just 37 for Calgary, according to hockeystats.ca.
That’s five unanswered goals for the Flames, who were shootout winners the night before in Boston.
They’ve now won four of their last five games, and close out this seven-game road trip, which started Feb. 24 in New York, on Sunday against the Ottawa Senators.
And they’re doing this without Mark Giordano.
The Flames are now tied with the Vancouver Canucks in the Pacific Division with 76 points. The Canucks have one game in hand.
Ottawa Senators forward Matt Puempel didn’t get the greatest shot off, as he was falling to his stomach. But he did manage to sweep the puck back toward what appeared to be a wide open net, only to be denied a goal after a desperation stick save from Buffalo Sabres goalie Anders Lindback.
The save occurred during a scramble in front of the Buffalo net late in the first period, with the Senators trailing by a goal.
Earlier this week, we all watched as Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel went off about how he perceived his team’s captain, Dion Phaneuf, is treated in the media.
The Leafs have been mired in struggle and controversy for months now. They’ve fallen to 25th overall in the league standings, and were only two points up on 27th place Carolina when the puck dropped on Friday’s NHL schedule. Kessel has scored just six times in his last 34 games.
This painful season for the Leafs — and their fans — is nearing an end.
Phaneuf has already said that what Kessel did meant a lot to him. Now, Leafs coach Peter Horachek has praised the recent off-ice actions of Kessel.
“As a team, all our players need to have each other’s backs,” Horachek told the Toronto Star. “They need to stand up for each other. That was his version of doing that, so I applaud him for that.”