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Oilers burn struggling Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk in 7-2 rout – Twin Cities

EDMONTON, Alberta — The Wild have a goaltending crisis, not to mention a crisis of confidence.

One look at Devan Dubnyk treating the puck like it was a pipe bomb Friday night and you knew Minnesota was in trouble against one of the most dynamic teams in the NHL.

The Oilers scored three goals on Dubnyk in the first nine minutes of the game to chase the No. 1 goaltender to the bench and bury the Wild in a predictable and embarrassing 7-2 loss at Rogers Place.

Three goals on seven shots was all coach Bruce Boudreau needed to see out of his struggling netminder before yanking him for Alex Stalock, who yielded four of his own.

“To say you’re not concerned would be just sitting here and lying to you,” said Boudreau. “We’re concerned, but I’m concerned about a lot of guys on this team right now. He’s not the only one.”

The Wild can’t take a lead. They’re struggling to score. And they have become porous defensively. It is a recipe for disaster. Hence they lost for the fifth time in six games and eighth time in their past 12.

“When we’re not winning and not having a ton of success, you can test your character,” said defenseman Ryan Suter. “For sure this is a character test for us. We have to get going and find a way to win.”

Minnesota finished 1-2 on its Western Canada swing after winning the opener in Vancouver, where Dubnyk shined in the third period of a 3-2 victory.

However, over his past six starts, Dubnyk is 1-4 with a bloated 4.36 goals-against average and paltry .837 save percentage — a confidence-draining snapshot for the typically reliable starter.

Leon Draisaitl beat him to the short side at 4:14 for the first of his two goals and Connor McDavid, who had a big game, ended Dubnyk’s night with a seeing-eye shot through traffic at 8:42. The greatest insult was Tyler Nugent-Hopkins’ goal in between.

Nugent-Hopkins gained the blue line and flipped a shot on goal. Three Oilers crashed the net as Dubnyk could not freeze the rolling puck for a whistle, so Nugent-Hopkins cleaned up the mess.

“Obviously, the second goal, I can’t give that up,” Dubnyk said. “Make a save after the first goal and needed to settle it down. Disappointed with myself for the second one. I take a lot of pride in just kind of calming things down if it’s feeling a little crazy and obviously that just fuels the situation. I’ll definitely take responsibility for that.”

Suter did not let Dubnyk fall on the sword alone.

“We have to help him out, take away those high-scoring chances from inside the house,” Suter said. “Just bear down defensively, do our part and help him out.”

Marcus Foligno and Nino Niederreiter scored for the Wild, who already were short-handed after losing No. 1 center and captain Mikko Koivu to a left leg injury suffered the previous night in Calgary.

“I’m concerned about every aspect of our game,” said Boudreau. “I mean, after 18 games or something, we were third in the league defensively. Now I’m afraid to look where we are. It’s just unraveled right now.

“It’s up to us, as a coaching staff and as a team, to right this ship, get them back to learning how to play great defense again. That’s what’s going to win you the games. Not trying to score five goals a night.”

It was an ugly night for most of the players in the lineup.

Mikael Granlund was minus-5 and has one goal in his past 12 games. Charlie Coyle is scoreless in his past five and was minus-3 along with Zach Parise, Eric Staal, Jason Zucker and defenseman Jonas Brodin.

“I think our two — supposedly two — big lines were on for every goal,” said Boudreau. “You know? That’s not a good situation.”

McDavid had four points for the Oilers, who had 11 different players earn points on a night it was cool to pad one’s stats. Goalie Cam Talbot, who recently suffered through a six-game losing streak, made 31 saves for the victory.

The Wild return to Minnesota and will open a four-game homestand Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens at the Xcel Energy Center.

They peaked at No. 3 in the Western Conference on Nov. 23 after an emotional victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Now they are one point out of the last wild-card spot.

“It’s a test of character now,” said Boudreau. “You either bounce back or you start blaming everybody else. We’ve got to look at ourselves. This has been the same group for almost three years now, so we’ve got to right the ship and go from there.”

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