HURRICANES (19-27-7) at WILD (27-20-7)
TV: FS-CR, FS-N, FS-WI
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In three months with the Arizona Coyotes, goaltender Devan Dubnyk saw action in 19 games. Dubnyk will celebrate his one month anniversary with the Minnesota Wild by starting his 13th consecutive game when the Wild play the Carolina Hurricanes at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday.
Dubnyk started 42 games for the Edmonton Oilers in 2011-12 and 37 of 48 in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, but hasn’t seen this kind of consistent action since his junior hockey days.
"It has been a lot of games but I feel good physically," Dubnyk said. "I didn’t play as much the first half of the year, so maybe that gives me a little bit of an advantage to play this many games in a row now.
"A lot of nights, these guys work so hard in front of me that it makes it a little more realistic to be playing this many games in a row."
It helps that the Wild are winning. Acquired in a trade on Jan. 14, Dubnyk is 9-1-1 with a 1.48 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage since arriving in Minnesota and has been a big reason the Wild have surged back into the Stanley Cup Playoff picture. The Wild are two points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. They also have a game in hand on the Flames.
"It’s awesome. Having this opportunity has been really enjoyable for me," Dubnyk said. "I’ve really just tried not to think about it except that the wins feel that much better and the games are more exciting and afterwards, it just feels that much better knowing that we’re right in the mix."
Carolina will counter with former Wild player Anton Khudobin, who was selected by Minnesota in the seventh round of the 2004 NHL Draft. He debuted with the Wild in 2009 and appeared in six games with Minnesota going 4-1-0 before being traded to the Boston Bruins.
Hurricanes coach Bill Peters was encouraged by the way Khudobin played against Boston earlier this season, stopping 19 shots in a 2-1 shootout win at PNC Arena on Jan. 4.
The win against Boston was his first career start against the Bruins. Khudobin has never faced the Wild, so Peters hopes he can play well against another former team.
"We talk about all those kinds of things," Peters said. "We have an avalanche of stats and information and we share it all. He’s been real good for us leading into this game and I expect him to be good tonight."
Here are the projected lineups:
Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Jiri Tlusty
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm
Nathan Gerbe - Riley Nash - Alexander Semin
Andrej Nestrasil - Jay McClement - Patrick Dwyer
Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk
Tim Gleason - John-Michael Liles
Ron Hainsey - Michal Jordan
Scratched: Brett Bellemore, Chris Terry, Brad Malone
Injured: Ryan Murphy (leg)
Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville
Thomas Vanek - Mikael Granlund - Jordan Schroeder
Nino Niederreiter - Charlie Coyle - Justin Fontaine
Stephane Veilleux - Erik Haula - Kyle Brodziak
Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon
Nate Prosser - Matt Dumba
Scratched: Stu Bickel, Niklas Backstrom
Injured: Matt Cooke (sports hernia), Jason Zucker (clavicle), Ryan Carter (upper body), Keith Ballard (head/face)
Status update: Hainsey missed practice Friday with flu-like symptoms but skated Saturday and should be in the lineup. ... Coyle, who appeared injured early in the game Thursday after taking a big open-ice hit, sustained a stinger. He missed several shifts but returned to the game and has no ill effects.
Who’s hot: Eric Staal has four goals and six points in his past eight games. He leads Carolina in goals with 16 this season. ... Pominville has a goal in three consecutive games and has 26 points in 32 career games against the Hurricanes.