Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

For Dubnyk, Small Changs Have Been Big

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

DALLAS -- With how psychological sports can be, sometimes, less is more. 

It's an approach Devan Dubnyk took as he assessed his early season play, which Dubnyk felt he had room to improve on. 

The key, Dubnyk said, was not overthinking things. 

"You want it so bad, you start thinking about those things, and then you start changing when you shouldn't be changing," Dubnyk said. "I didn't want to change anything, just maybe relax a little bit, and everything will work out."

'Working out' for Dubnyk has manifested itself in three straight victories in which the goaltender has stopped 93 of 98 shots he faced (a .949 save percentage), and 76 of 79 shots he's faced at even-strength (a .962 save percentage).

"He's on his game; you can tell," Head Coach Mike Yeo said. "You can just see that it's been building, and certainly he's on it right now."

Before training camp ever started, Dubnyk echoed a similar sentiment at informal practices. Hockey is repetitious, and Dubnyk, coming off his best season in the NHL, had the experiences to draw back on to know he could be a top-notch goaltender.

"You just have to look at the games and decide, are there goals going in that shouldn't be going in?" Dubnyk said. "Or is it a stretch where you have some bad luck, or some weird situations, or is it a big thing, or do you just need to sharpen up a little bit? That's why I think talking to [goaltending coach Bob Mason], it was just sharpening up just a little bit."

The situation played itself out, and it's why the Wild has been so steadfast in giving Dubnyk the net this season. He's started 13 of the Wild's 14 games, earning a League-leading 10 victories.

"It's kind of why we rolled with him for a little while here," Yeo said after Dubnyk made a season-high 37 saves in a winning effort against the Carolina Hurricanes. "We knew that he was close to his game, we knew that he wasn't quite on it, and we just felt if he got some more game reps then he would get there."

The game schedule itself is important. Dubnyk and the Wild slogged through a more dormant month of the schedule before getting into a rhythm recently with more consistent games, something especially important for a goaltender.

"I wasn't nervous to be honest with you because of how he played when the game was most meaningful," Yeo said. "Because of the way he played to close out games, and third periods, he raised his game, he elevated his game, and I think he was little bit more into the game."

Dubnyk likened what he was going through to a forward in a scoring slump, but still getting chances. "You don't want to all of a sudden change what you're doing," he said. Instead, it was allowing an odd stretch of hockey to run its course, while making small refinements.

"There have been some interesting bounces, and calls, and that's just the way it goes in stretches sometimes," Dubnyk said. "I've been in situations before, you just grab onto things from the past where we're winning games, and that's the most important thing. It doesn't take long to turn it around."

Related Items:

View More