Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, who made 31 saves in a 6-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium, has been keeping a diary of his experiences this weekend. In his final installment, he focuses on the atmosphere for the game and his bid at a shutout, which was ruined when Patrick Kane scored with 7:55 remaining.
What a day! That was incredible.
The one memory I will have is when we first walked out to start the game and the University of Minnesota band was playing and everybody started to get excited. I can certainly see why the football players get fired up coming out of the tunnel. The game was long, but it was long in a good way. Between the atmosphere and the way we were playing, you didn't really want it to end. It's certainly a day I won't forget any time soon.
Even with everything going on, we were able to get to our game right away. That's something that we have been doing for the last little bit. We've been pouncing on teams and playing fast. Matt Dumba got us going right away. That's a big goal to open the scoring, and then he has a big hit after that and draws a penalty and we go on the power play and eventually get another goal. Sometimes, you don't know who it is going to be to step up, but when you have guys stepping up and making big plays like that at the start of the game to get the team going and the guys into it, it's exciting to watch.
There wasn't a whole bunch said in the dressing room before the game; the start just happened. I think with the group we have, you want to stay away from that stuff as much as possible. Everybody knows how to prepare and everybody has their routines and preparations for a game. You know, it's already different and there's enough strange things going on when you are involved with a game like this. The atmosphere, the long walk to the ice, all the times are different, so you want to stay away from saying too much and get away from what we need to do.
The walk to and from the ice surface from the dressing room was so long. I didn't have many more walks in me. My ankles were destroyed. My skates are good for skating and that is about it. The walking isn't such a good thing.
Video: CHI@MIN: Blackhawks and Wild head to the ice
I hadn't let up a goal after two periods, but I don't start thinking about a shutout until there are maybe a few minutes left. You know, you are feeling good in the game, and it's like you are doing anything you can in the game to not get scored on, but I usually don't think too much about a shutout until it gets down to two or three minutes left in the game. Obviously, I didn't get there.
That goal by Patrick Kane was just an unfortunate bounce. Those are the kind of goals you just forget about. Those things happen. Plus, the goal was pretty good, even if he did have an open net. He had no angle and he one-timed it off the boards. He didn't hit it hard, but he one-touched it, which is so hard to do. I watched him; I turned my head to see him do it and all I could do was watch it go in. It was a pretty ridiculous angle. I'm not going to say I'm surprised by him, to be honest.
It was great to have everybody around today. My parents came to the game and my wife and my oldest son, Nate. The youngest, Parker, is still a little too young to be hanging out in the cold. I'm not sure how long Nate lasted outside today; I'm going to find that out right now.
I'll have so many memories from today, but the atmosphere was unbelievable. It was crazy and it is a different sound, especially when they were chanting my name. It's almost like a booming sound, and you can really feel how many people are there. I wanted to take a second to look around once the game was over just to soak in the stadium and the experience. We don't get an opportunity to do this too often, so it is exciting that we were able to play as well as we did. It was fun walking back toward the dressing room and everybody is hanging over the railing by the tunnel and yelling your name. It's like that even in Excel Energy Center, when you really look around to the upper levels and you see how small the people are and how many people are actually there. That's why I waited until after the game today to do that.
The weekend was so special for me. I'm so glad I got to have a part in this. It's something I won't forget.