ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Not so long ago, the Minnesota Wild were hearing loud boos from their home crowd during a slump that saw them win only twice during a 14-game stretch.
These days, though, it’s “Doooooooob!!” reverberating throughout the Xcel Energy Center whenever the newly acquired Devan Dubnyk stops a shot.
Dubnyk’s arrival continues to spark the Wild — he stopped 24 shots on Saturday night to earn his 10th win in 13 games with his new team, leading Minnesota over Carolina 6-3. Thomas Vanek had two goals and an assist, and the Wild continued their recent surge by winning for the eighth time in nine games.
“It starts from the back end, Doober,” said defenseman Nate Prosser, who scored to end a 41-game goalless drought. “When he’s making some big saves it gets everyone up, everyone going.”
Minnesota nearly blew a three-goal lead during a sloppy second period, but Dubnyk helped the league’s fourth-best penalty kill unit stymie a four-minute power play to prevent Carolina from tying it.
Erik Haula added a goal in the third for some insurance. Jordan Schroeder and Zach Parise also scored the Wild.
“One win doesn’t mean we’re there, and one loss doesn’t mean we’re not there,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. “This is all just part of the process right now where we’ve been climbing back in it, we’ve gotten ourselves closer and there’s still an awful lot of hockey left this year.”
Andrej Nestrasil, Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm scored for Carolina, and Anton Khudobin finished with 18 saves. Carolina lost its second straight game, missing a chance to win three of four.
“We had some guys play, just not enough guys competed, not enough guys showed up on time, too many passengers,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “I don’t know why you’d be that flat.”
Minnesota, meanwhile, extended its points streak to 10 games, tying a franchise record. The Wild have earned points in 11 of their last 12 games and haven’t allowed a power-play goal since the All-Star break.
“Every point right now is so valuable,” Schroeder said. “If we can just continue to keep climbing and keep gaining points each and every game, that’s how you make it to the playoffs.”
The Wild led 3-0 in the first and 4-1 in the second before Carolina took advantage of some poor puck handling. A Minnesota turnover led to Skinner’s 12th goal of the season at 5:02. A minute and a half later, Lindholm camped out just inside the blue line and launched a wrist shot that somehow made it past Dubnyk to make it 4-3.
The Hurricanes had a great chance to tie it less than two minutes later when Nino Niederreiter was whistled for high-sticking and a double minor. But Dubnyk, who earned his 10th win in 13 games with the Wild, stiffened in the net and drew loud chants of “Dooooob!!” with each save.
Carolina outshot Minnesota 13-4 in the second, but Haula made it 5-3 in the third when a pass from Kyle Brodziak deflected off his skate and over Khudobin. The former Wild draft pick had a rough night in net — Khudobin was caught badly out of position just 1:15 into the game, leaving a wide-open net for Vanek’s first goal.
Vanek made it 2-0 at 8:17 of the first when his shot deflected off Khudobin’s outstretched foot and into the net.
“It was a very bizarre game,” Peters said. “That’s as bad as we’ve played in a long time.”
Notes: Parise scored an empty-netter at 18:11 of the third. . Vanek had his first multi-goal game withMinnesota. He has 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) in 32 career games against Carolina. . The Wild last earned points in 10 straight games in March 2007. . Niederreiter played his 200th career NHL game. . Carolina D Justin Faulk has five assists in his last three games. Faulk assisted on Nestrasil’s goal in the second.
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