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From the Rink: Dubnyk earns surprise start in Toronto

Scheduled starter Stalock returned home for birth of daughter on Wednesday

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

TORONTO -- For the second time in two weeks, the Minnesota Wild dressing room will welcome an extended family member.

First, it was Jason Zucker and his wife, Carly, who welcomed a son, Hendrix, to their family on Oct. 27. Now, it's goaltender Alex Stalock, and his wife Felicia, who will be adding to their group with the arrival of a baby girl.

Stalock, the expected starter on Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, boarded an early flight back to the Twin Cities to be there for the birth, meaning Devan Dubnyk will man the crease for the first of back-to-back games.

The Wild also recalled Niklas Svedberg from Iowa of the American Hockey League to serve as Dubnyk's backup.

The Wild has already had a bunch of injury drama early in the season. Now it has its first bit of goaltender drama, although this is certainly of the welcomed variety.

"It's good drama as long as everybody is healthy when he gets home," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "I'm happy for him. Unfortunately he was going to start tonight so I hope [Dubnyk is] ready."

Video: Wild pregame at Toronto

Dubnyk, who learned of the news through a text this morning, was a little surprised when he saw such an early message from Stalock but wasn't caught all that off guard by the news. Felicia was due this weekend, so Alex knew it could happen any time.

"I didn't even clue in at first it was from him and thought it was a little strange that he was texting me first thing. I know we're buddies, I saw him last night, so I didn't know why he wanted to talk so early," Dubnyk said. "It's exciting for him. He's going to be there. It's obviously an extremely important day. I'm excited for him. It wasn't really much of a knuckleball."

Dubnyk will be looking to rebound after allowing four goals in two periods of action last time out in Boston on Monday against the Bruins. Stalock played the final 20 minutes as Minnesota began its current four-game road trip with a 5-3 loss at TD Garden. 

From a statistical standpoint, Dubnyk's early season numbers lag behind both his career numbers and the stats he's posted in two seasons with the Wild. But this early in a new season, a couple rough outings can do serious damage to a goaltender's stat line. 

"It is difficult. More wins and losses than the numbers. That's an old guy thing," Dubnyk said. "As I get older, it gets a little easier to do, to just be comfortable in how I know how I need to play and what situations I need to be doing certain things in. If you can be comfortable in that, it allows you to put the other stuff aside. 

"At the end of the day, you just got to continue to build your game and work on what's going to give you the best chance to make saves out there."

Toronto is expected to be without forward Auston Matthews, who is nursing an unspecified upper-body injury.

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD

Jason Zucker - Eric Staal - Chris Stewart

Nino Niederreiter - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund

Daniel Winnik - Joel Eriksson Ek - Tyler Ennis

Marcus Foligno - Matt Cullen - Luke Kunin

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba

Kyle Quincey - Gustav Olofsson

Devan Dubnyk

Niklas Svedberg

MAPLE LEAFS

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk - Patrick Marleau - Zach Hyman

Connor Brown - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner

Matt Martin - Dominic Moore - Josh Leivo

Morgan Reilly - Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev

Andreas Borgman - Connor Carrick

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

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