Skip to main content

At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Wild

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk will start Thursday (8 p.m. ET; TSN4, FS-N, FS-WI) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Xcel Energy Center.

That is, unless his wife Jennifer gives birth to the couple's second child, a boy who is due Friday.

The couple's first son, Nathaniel, was born in August 2013, a month before the start of training camp. It allowed Devan the opportunity to be in the delivery room and be around his wife and new child for the first several weeks of his life.

"There really wasn't this concern around it; it was a little different situation," Dubnyk said. "But some things are more important. We're very excited and everyone is healthy right now and that's the important thing."

Dubnyk said he plans to be present for the birth of his second child as well, meaning Wild operations manager Andrew Heydt has the added duty of being on call in case Jennifer goes into labor.

"If it were [imminent], I'd probably know before the game. But you never know," Dubnyk said. "I certainly don't worry about it as the game goes. She's got Andrew's number if something needs to happen. But I'm hoping he waits until after the game tonight. That would be a good time."

Dubnyk said he was nervous earlier this week when Minnesota spent two days in Chicago before a game against the Blackhawks on Tuesday.

Minnesota (12-7-4) will play at home again Saturday, so the baby has until Sunday to arrive before the Wild travel for a game at the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.

"Colorado is a little further away than Chicago so I'm keeping the fingers crossed that he decides to come before then," Dubnyk said. "If not, we'll see."

Minnesota begins a stretch of three straight games on the road with the Avalanche but will return home for three days before back-to-back games against the Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks on Dec. 11-12.

That could provide Dubnyk with another window in case the pregnancy lasts past this weekend.

"He can come whenever, as long as he's healthy," Dubnyk said.

The Maple Leafs (8-12-5) did not skate Thursday but held a meeting to cover their 6-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.

Goaltender James Reimer, who returned from an undisclosed injury to back up rookie Garret Sparks on Wednesday, will start against the Wild.

Reimer hasn't played since making 26 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins on Nov. 23. But when he has been in, he's been Toronto’s best goaltender. Reimer's .934 save percentage is third-best in the NHL and his 2.07 goals-against average is eighth-best entering play Thursday.

"He's been real good for us and I think he's still feeling good about himself," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "Anytime you've been off it's a little bit harder, but we have to play well in front of him too."

Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak will play his 400th NHL game. He has 99 goals and 246 points in 399 games.

Here are the projected lineups:


James van Riemsdyk - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov

Shawn Matthias - Tyler Bozak - PA Parenteau

Daniel Winnik - Nick Spaling - Michael Grabner

Peter Holland - Byron Froese - Brad Boyes

Jake Gardiner - Dion Phaneuf

Matt Hunwick - Morgan Rielly

Martin Marincin - Roman Polak

James Reimer

Garret Sparks

Injured: Joffrey Lupul (lower body), Stephane Robidas (groin)

Scratched: Richard Clune, Frank Corrado


Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter

Thomas Vanek - Charlie Coyle - Justin Fontaine

Chris Porter - Erik Haula - Ryan Carter

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Nate Prosser - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Injured: Tyler Graovac (sports hernia)

Scratched: Niklas Backstrom, Mike Reilly

Status report: Reilly was recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Wednesday but is not expected to play. Wild coach Mike Yeo said he wants Reilly working on a daily basis with assistant coaches Rick Wilson and Darryl Sydor.

Who's hot: Van Riemsdyk has five points in his past four games. He leads the Maple Leafs with 16 points. ... Pominville has goals in back-to-back games after being held without a goal in his first 21 games.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.