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Matt Bartkowski debuts, Wild end losing streak with win over Winnipeg

Matt Bartkowski wanted a chance with the Wild more than his two front teeth for Christmas.

Gone is the Minnesota Wild's five-game losing streak thanks to a 3-1 road victory over division rival Winnipeg on Saturday. 

Minnesota had scored just five goals total during its five-game slide, and the guy to break the ice with the first goal of Saturday's game was Matt Bartkowski.

Who the heck is Matt Bartkowski, you ask? 

He's a defenseman who just got recalled from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League to take the place of Nick Seeler, who was dinged up in Thursday's loss to the Blackhawks. 

Bartkowski ripped home a goal that went by Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck in part because of a great screen by veteran forward Matt Hendricks, who was playing for the first time in two weeks. 

"Pretty awesome. And we get the win too, so you can't really draw it up any better than that," Bartkowski said, via Wild.com. "Worked them low pretty good, the forwards worked them real well down low. The screen from Hendo was unbelievable, I think I could have shot it anywhere and it would have gone in."

More importantly, Devan Dubnyk played well in net for the Wild after getting pulled after allowing three goals on 10 shots against Chicago. Dubnyk stopped 26 of 27 shots and won for the first time since Dec. 13. 

"It was like a business game. It was just I thought all business from our guys," head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "For 60 minutes, top to bottom, I think it's as good as we've played in a long time."

Charlie Coyle and Eric Fehr also scored for the Wild and Zach Parise had two assists. 

The Wild had won just three games since Nov. 24 prior to their victory in Winnipeg. 

Next up, Minnesota hosts Pittsburgh at 5 p.m. Monday. They begin 2019 with four straight road games against Toronto, Ottawa, Boston and Montreal. 

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