The last time they faced each other, the Wild were crushed 7-2 in Winnipeg after giving up six goals in the prior game to St. Louis.
Saturday night, it was the Wild who were in control from pretty much the first puck drop.
The result was a confidence-boosting 4-1 Wild victory, netting two points over the Central Division-leading Winnipeg Jets (26-13-7). Defenseman Matt Dumba scored a pair of insurance goals late in the game, after the Wild got off to a fast start in the first period.
“That was huge for us,” Dumba said. “We’ve been talking for the last few weeks about playing a full sixty minutes, so we’re pretty happy about that.”
The Wild (24-17-4) managed to avoid getting swept in the season series against Winnipeg; they finish 1-3 against the division rival. The Wild had the jump from the start, which is the way it should be when the home team hasn’t played in three days and the opponent played on the road the night before.
The dominance showed on the scoreboard, too. The Wild outshot the Jets 23-5 through the first 20 minutes and took a 1-0 lead on a pretty deflection goal from Mikael Granlund off a Ryan Suter point shot on the power play 8:47 into the game. Jared Spurgeon was credited with the second assist.
The goal was Granlund’s 13th of the season and his second goal in three games.
“Our key was to come out in the first period and throw everything at them, and we did,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “Unfortunately we only got a goal, but I thought it was a really good first period.”
Jason Zucker finally cashed in on so many of the chances that had come his way lately. The puck deflected off the end boards for a perfect bounce toward his stick for his first goal in eight games. It was his second goal and fourth point against the Jets this year.
The Jets made it a one-goal game just 47 seconds into the third period on a Mathieu Perreault power-play goal from Minnesota-connections Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien. It was 2-1, but the Wild didn’t surrender anything else.
Dumba’s first tally came at 6:23 into the third with his signature snipe-shot. He fired away against at the 13:32 mark to really put the game out of reach for the Jets.
Charlie Coyle and Marcus Foligno assisted on both Dumba goals, giving them 15 and 10 assists on the season respectively. Foligno finishes the series against the Jets this season with one goal and three assists. Dumba and Foligno each finished the game with a team-high six shots on goal.
Boudreau said it might have been Foligno’s best game of the year.
It’s a shame that Zach Parise doesn’t get any credit on the scoresheet for that second Dumba goal. The play simply doesn’t happen without Parise’s hustle as the lone man on the forecheck chasing down the Jets in their zone. Parise got the turnover and kept the play alive in the Jets zone, allowing Dumba to get set up for the goal to make it 4-1. This scoring sequence made up for a couple turnovers Parise gave up on a Wild power play.
“Made a really good play on the one goal,” Boudreau said. “He didn’t get the assist, but he made a really good play on the fourth goal.”
Parise finished with four shots on goal in nearly 19 minutes of ice time.
The pair of goals brings Dumba’s total to nine for the season, the most for any defenseman on the team and fifth-most overall. His 24 points also rank fifth on the team.
Devan Dubnyk got the victory in goal, in his 200th game wearing a Wild sweater. The Wild outshot the Jets 41-33 for the game.
Dubnyk (17-9-2) with 32 saves on 33 shots. Connor Hellebuyck (23-6-6) with 37 saves on 41 shots.
The Wild are 3-4-1 on the first night of back-to-back series this season.
The victory gives the Wild a 10-5-3 home record all-time against the Jets.
The record stands at 12-1-2 for the Wild since Nov. 14.
With the two Dumba goals and Suter and Spurgeon assists, Wild defensemen have racked up 104 points this season.
Each team scored a power-play goal. The Wild went 1 for 4, while the Jets went 1 for 2. It was just the sixth power-play goal the Wild defense has allowed at home this season.
The Wild finish off the weekend with a 7 p.m. game Sunday, hosting Vancouver in St. Paul before their bye week.