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Wild's Dubnyk aiming for more success against Oilers

by Derek Van Diest

WILD (29-21-7) at OILERS (17-32-10)


EDMONTON -- Devan Dubnyk will look to continue dominance over his former teammates Friday when the Minnesota Wild play the Edmonton Oilers.

Prior to being acquired in a trade by the Wild, Dubnyk defeated Edmonton three times while a member of the Arizona Coyotes this season.

Dubnyk is 4-0-0 with a 0.98 goals-against average and .966 save percentage in four games against the Oilers this season.

"They're playing well; Dubnyk has been playing well for them," Oilers coach Todd Nelson said. "But we're going to approach the game the same way. We want to keep things simple, we want to get shots on net, we have to get traffic in front. When a team is playing well with a good goaltender, you have to generate shots, put them on net and make the goalie work."

Dubnyk began last season as the Oilers' starting goaltender. He struggled and was traded to the Nashville Predators, and then was traded to the Montreal Canadiens. He finished the season with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League.

Dubnyk signed a one-year contract with the Coyotes to be the backup to Mike Smith. His strong play with the Coyotes led to the Wild trading a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft to Arizona for Dubnyk on Jan. 14.

With Minnesota, Dubnyk is 11-2-5 with a 1.73 goals-against average, a .936 save percentage and four shutouts.

"It's been a great story and he deserves people to be talking about him and writing about him," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "What he's brought to our team, the level of play that he's been bringing night after night, obviously our season took a big turn when we acquired him. He's brought a great sense of confidence to our group and a feeling that we don't have to play a perfect game. He's going to play solid back there; he's going to make the saves, even the ones that he shouldn't make. He has a real sense of confidence and composure back there that has trickled through to the rest of our group."

The Wild have battled back into Stanley Cup Playoff contention with Dubnyk in goal; they are three points behind the San Jose Sharks for the second Western Conference wild-card spot.

"Going through what I did last year, you have to find a way to improve," Dubnyk said. "Fortunately I was able to end up in a good situation in Arizona to start the season and get comfortable and work on some very simple, basic parts of my game. Really sharpening those up has helped me."

In his second start with the Wild, Dubnyk defeated the Oilers 2-1 on Jan. 27; that was the start of a run of nine wins in 11 games, with only one regulation loss.

"It's good to see him doing well," Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle said. "When you play with a guy long enough, you develop a relationship with him, and Dubnyk is a great guy. It was tough to see how it went for him here. Every time you see a guy have success outside of the team, it's great.

"Just, hopefully, he has an off night tonight. That's the only thing you can wish for."

Goaltender Ben Scrivens will start for Edmonton, which is 10-10-3 since Nelson took over exclusively from Dallas Eakins.

Here are the projected lineups:


Nino Niederreiter - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Justin Fontaine

Thomas Vanek - Charlie Coyle - Jordan Schroeder

Stephane Veilleux - Erik Haula - Kyle Brodziak

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Matt Dumba

Nate Prosser - Christian Folin

Devan Dubnyk

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Stu Bickel, Darcy Kuemper, Michael Keranen

Injured: Jason Zucker (clavicle), Matt Cooke (sports hernia), Ryan Carter (upper body), Keith Ballard (head), Jared Spurgeon (concussion)


Teddy Purcell - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Ryan Hamilton - Derek Roy - Nail Yakupov

Rob Klinkhammer - Benoit Pouliot - Iiro Pakarinen

Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Matt Fraser

Keith Aulie - Andrew Ference

Oscar Klefbom - Justin Schultz

Martin Marincin - Mark Fayne

Ben Scrivens

Richard Bachman

Scratched: Jordan Oesterle, Luke Gazdic

Injured: Tyler Pitlick (lacerated spleen), Taylor Hall (leg), Nikita Nikitin (shoulder), Viktor Fasth (knee), Anton Lander (shoulder), Jeff Petry (ribs)

Status report: Klinkhammer rejoined the Oilers after leaving to be with his wife for the birth of their son. Earlier in the day the Oilers announced Klinkhammer and Hamilton had been signed to one-year contract extensions. … With injuries mounting up, Oesterle was recalled from the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL on Friday. He will not be in the lineup against the Wild. … Folin was recalled from Iowa of the AHL on Thursday and will play against the Oilers.

Who's hot: Yakupov has a six-game point streak, including three goals in his past two games. … Eberle has four assists in his past two games.

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