It seemed inevitable for everyone in the State of Hockey that Devan Dubnyk was the National Hockey League’s First Star of February after he went 11-2-1 for the Minnesota Wild. But on Sunday, the NHL confirmed what Wild fans already knew — Dubnyk has been stellar for the Wild in net.
“To get the personal recognition it feels good,” Dubnyk said. “It’s nice to have a couple days between games where you can kind of sit back and enjoy it. We’ll enjoy it today and forget about it tomorrow be right back at it.”
Dubnyk became the first Wild player to earn the recognition as the First Star of the month. Josh Harding was named Third Star of November in 2013.
“I’m a little surprised that nobody from the Wild has ever been First Star of the Month, but very pleased for him that he could accomplish that,” Head Coach Mike Yeo said.
Yeo added that it’s also a testament to the way the Wild has played in front of Dubnyk over the course of the past month. But the netminder isn’t going to keep thinking about his past performance.
“To have that feeling every single game that we’re going to go out and win, is exciting,” Dubnyk said. “It makes those games fun to play. But we’ve got another month and a bit of it to keep doing it. “
While Dubnyk has garnered the headlines in goal, it’s been a less heralded trio that has provided an offensive spark on the club’s recent road trip. It’s been obvious to any Wild fan over the past few games that the fourth line was crucial to the wins in Nashville and Colorado. Justin Fontaine, Kyle Brodziak and Erik Haula combined for four goals and six assists including Fontaine’s game-winning goal against the Avalanche.
“The way we’ve kind of won games in every different kind of way possible, and so many different guys chipping in at different times, it brings everybody close as a group,” Dubnyk said. Senators’ Vote Of Confidence
Practice time has been slim for the Wild with 14 games in February, so today’s full practice was welcome for Minnesota.
“We haven’t had a lot of these, let’s make sure that we got the right mindset, the right focus, as much of anything else, let’s make sure we’re getting ready for tomorrow,” Yeo said.
The Ottawa Senators sit seven points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They own the league’s best win streak right now having won the last five games.
“Quite frankly they’re pretty much in the midst of their playoffs,” Yeo said. “We’ve got to be ready.” Bergenheim Comes To Minnesota
After being traded to Minnesota last Tuesday, Sean Bergenheim met the Wild in Nashville then traveled to Colorado, but finally came to see his new home.
“The arena is very nice, and the locker room, it’s very nice to see everything,” Bergenheim said. “There’s a really good group of guys. The first few days here have been really good.”
Tomorrow Bergenheim will make his home ice debut for the Wild.
“Every time I’ve played here, the atmosphere has been unbelievable,” Bergenheim said. “It’s going to be fun to be on the home team side of that. I’m going to play my best for the fans.” Scandella, Spurgeon Updates
Marco Scandella was noticeably absent from today’s practice after only skating 6:10 against Colorado.
“We got good news with Marco that it wasn’t anything structural or anything that we should be concerned about,” Yeo said. “He’s feeling better today.”
Scandella could play tomorrow according to Yeo.
His defensive partner, Jared Spurgeon, has missed five games with an injury, but skated this morning and is getting better. Yeo claimed Spurgeon could be a possibility for Thursday’s game in Washington.