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Dubnyk Set To Make His Arizona Return On Thursday

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

Three days after being traded the Minnesota Wild, Devan Dubnyk played against his former team the Arizona Coyotes.

"I got a chance to play against them pretty quickly last year, so at least I got that one out of the way," Dubnyk said.

Dubnyk will again get to face his former team, when the Wild plays against the Coyotes on Thursday.

"Having to get a chance to go back there, it was a short time, but an important time for me," Dubnyk said. "The way I was treated there from the team and the coaches and management, it was a special time for me."

With a game against the Coyores under his belt, this meeting, his first back to Arizona since the trade, will be business as usual for the Wild's goalie.

"It's another game now," Dunyk said. "I played a lot of games against Edmonton last year, so I know what it's like to play against a former team, and it's just another game. I just have to concentrate on little things that I need to do, and not worry about who I'm playing against."

Dubnyk is always quick to credit Arizona and Coyotes goaltending coach Sean Burke for helping him improve.

"Getting to work with Sean Burke, he just tightened up my skating, and made me aware of some things that I needed to be sharper on, and was definitely capable of being sharper on," Dubnyk said. "He opened my eyes to it, and really stuck with me on it, and that was a big thing for me at the start of the year last year."

The Coyotes have started this season 2-0-0. Head Coach Mike Yeo said it's a fast team, and one that will provide the Wild with a challenge.

"They're a team that's always going to play well without the puck, and defend very hard," Yeo said. "They've got size to go along with that speed."

It's also a younger team with many new players,

"They look a lot more this year like a David Tippet team," Dubnyk said. "He's always got a well-coached team that's always going to give you a tough game, and that's certainly what their first two games have looked like so far this year. I wouldn't suspect anything different coming up against us."

When the Wild take the ice on Thursday night, it will end a five-day break between games two and three. Minnesota faced a similar break between its final preseason game and regular season opener.

"I don't know that we'd consider it a luxury right now; we'd rather be playing early in the season," Yeo said after practice on Wednesday. "Just trying to replicate as much battle, and pace as we can so that we don't have to gear up for our nothing game."

The Wild used that time off to work on elements of its game that both Yeo and the players said needed improvement after its 2-0-0 start.

"We did a lot of the same stuff we always do. Coming out of our end, regrouping the puck, just a lot of team stuff," Ryan Suter said. "We wanted to work on our systems so that we're solid in that regard, but at the same time, rest up so that we're ready for the three (games) in four nights."

Roster Moves

Yeo confirmed Justin Fontaine will make his season debut on Thursday, and with Fontaine being taken off Injured Reserve on Wednesday, forward Tyler Graovac was subsequently placed on Injured Reserve.

"We lose one, but we get one back with [Graovac] being out, but [Fontaine] coming back," Yeo said. "[Fontaine is] a guy that's capable of playing on that line, and really that's how we started training camp, with those three guys intact and playing together."

Fontaine will skate on a line with center Charlie Coyle and left wing Thomas Vanek.

"He's a guy that's got speed, he's a guy that has playmaking ability, and he's strong in all three zones both with and without the puck. He should be a nice complement to that line."

Good Luck Lynx

The Minnesota Lynx will play a decisive Game 5 in the WNBA Finals on Wednesday against the Indiana Fever. The Wild would like to wish the Lynx good luck as the team attempts to capture its third title in five seasons.

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