Devan Dubnyk has done more than just stop the puck to give the Minnesota Wild a chance to securing a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Left wing Zach Parise said Dubnyk has also given the Wild confidence to rediscover the way they feel they need to play in front of the goalie.
That, as much as stopping the puck, is the impact quality goaltending can have on any team.
The Wild weren't getting quality goaltending before Dubnyk arrived on Jan. 14, and they were a mess with an 18-19-5 record and .893 save percentage that led to 3.0 goals-against per game.
The Wild have gone 19-4-2 since Dubnyk made his debut on Jan. 15. Dubnyk has started every game and has a .937 save percentage and 1.67 goals-against average.
Minnesota is on pace to be the first wild card in the playoffs from the Western Conference.
"When he came in and made some big stops in his first couple games it let us take a deep breath," Parise said. "It had felt like every mistake we were making was magnified and ending up in the back of our net. I'm not saying that's the goalie's fault, because when we were losing we started to really change the way we played. Not even realizing we started to cheat on the offensive and we weren't playing a winning style of hockey. Now we've gotten back to that, so I think that's put less pressure on our goalies. We have kind of rediscovered our game to play the way that makes us a good hockey team."