What we’ve learned in NHL: This trade is a Wild win, and balanced scoring fuels Capitals

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk stops a point-blank shot by Blackhawks left wing Richard Panik during the second period of their game Sunday.
(Matt Marton / Associated Press)

What we learned from the past week in the NHL:

It sometimes takes years to determine which team “won” a trade, but it’s safe to say the Minnesota Wild came out ahead when they acquired goaltender Devan Dubnyk from Arizona for a 2015 third-round draft pick. On Sunday, the second anniversary of the trade, Dubnyk made 33 saves as the Wild rallied past the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2, taking sole possession of the Central Division lead and extending their road points streak to 10-0-2. He leads the NHL this season in save percentage (.940) and goals-against average (1.78). Minnesota has won four straight and is 8-1-1 in its last 10. In addition, the Wild have beaten the Blackhawks in eight straight regular-season games, though that’s not consolation for being sent home by Chicago in the playoffs in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

A Capital offense

It took an eight-goal, overtime victory by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday to end the Washington Capitals’ nine-game winning streak. The freewheeling, back-and-forth style was uncharacteristic for the Capitals, who had outscored their opponents, 40-11, during a winning streak that lifted them ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and to the top of the Metropolitan Division. It also was a dramatic change of pace for the Penguins, who had scored only six goals in losing their previous three games. Before they faced the Penguins on Monday the Capitals hadn’t allowed an even-strength goal in six games, which is impressive.


Has ‘the King’ been dethroned?

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, long ago nicknamed “King Henrik,” has been struggling lately, raising questions about whether advancing age — he will be 35 in March — is closing the window for him to win the Stanley Cup. Lundqvist caught a bad break Saturday when starter Antti Raanta suffered a lower-body injury during the first period of the Rangers’ game at Montreal and Lundqvist, who was scheduled to rest after playing Friday, had to make a relief appearance. He gave up five goals on 22 shots, including three goals in 62 seconds in the third period, in a 5-4 victory for the Canadiens. He has allowed four or more goals in five of his last seven appearances for the Rangers, who are 5-5 in their last 10 games.

Trade market could open soon

The rigid salary cap makes it difficult to make major trades, but rumors have picked up steam since Arizona and Colorado hit the point where they must look toward next season. Elliotte Friedman of Canada’s Sportsnet said last week that the Coyotes might move veteran Shane Doan if the return is right for them and the situation is right for Doan, 40, their last link to their Winnipeg roots. The Avalanche, seeking a top-four defenseman, might be willing to trade one of their core forwards. The asking price would be high for Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog, but they’re impact players who could help a Cup contender.


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