ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild sharpened their game late against the St. Louis Blues and kept up an impressive recent stretch.
Matt Dumba, Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund scored, Devan Dubnyk made 22 saves and Minnesota held on to beat the Blues 3-1 on Sunday night for their fourth straight win.
“I think that’s nine out of 10 games that we’ve gotten points in,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I thought that was our best third period of the year. We had a one-goal lead and I thought we didn’t give them anything. That is the way we play when we’re playing really good. That’s a positive thing. I hope they’re starting to believe they’re a good team.”
Dumba scored for the second straight game in the second period and Niederreiter got his eighth goal about seven minutes later. Granlund added an empty-net goal.
Dubnyk is 6-0-2 in his last eight games, posting a 1.69 goals-against average and .941 save percentage since Nov. 23.
“That’s important to just get that feeling, get that good feeling going,” Dubnyk said. “When you can approach every game and feel good about what the outcome’s going to be and how we’re going to play, that’s how you get on these streaks. These streaks are important when the schedule gets tough at the end of the year.”
Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 14th goal of the season for St. Louis. Jake Allen stopped 22 shots for the Blues, who had won five of their past seven games.
“All these games are right there, but we’re not getting a big enough push back against these teams that really check hard,” St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. “They checked hard. We really checked them hard, but as the game wore they started to get a little bit control of it.”
After a scoreless first period in which the Wild managed just six shots on goal, Dumba’s wrist shot put Minnesota ahead just 45 seconds into the second. The young defenseman brought the puck up the center of the ice and casually sent the puck on net, beating Allen high to the stick side.
Allen had little help as Niederreiter scored for the first time in seven games. Erik Haula and Charlie Coyle were right in front of Allen, along with two defensemen, but Niederreiter cycled freely before flipping the puck in.
Tarasenko, who had six goals against the Wild in the playoffs two years ago, scored for the 10th time in the past 18 games. He is tied for fifth in the league with 14 goals.
“I thought periodically again we played well,” Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “I think the story of the road this year has been a little bit of consistency between games.”
St. Louis is 4-8-1 on the road this season, while 12-1-3 at home.
NOTES: Minnesota D Christian Folin skated in the pregame warmup but was scratched for the seventh straight game with a sprained MCL in his left knee. Folin has been cleared to return but Nate Prosser was in the lineup again Sunday. … The Wild are 0 for 17 on the power play the past seven games. … Blues assistant coaches Mike Yeo and Rick Wilson were honored by the Wild during a timeout in their first trip back to Minnesota. Yeo was the Wild coach for four-plus seasons, leading the team to the playoffs three times. Wilson had six years as an assistant with Minnesota.
Blues: A four-game trip ends Tuesday night at Nashville.
Wild: End a three-game homestand on Tuesday night against Florida.
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