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From the Rink: Dubnyk shoots for 200th win back where it all began

Goaltender won NHL game No. 199 on Friday in Vancouver, is expected to start Saturday in Edmonton

by Dan Myers @DanMyers / Wild.com

EDMONTON -- Sometimes it's hard for Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk to square up how much his career has changed since his time as an Edmonton Oiler.

It was just four years ago that Dubnyk had reached rock bottom in the NHL, going 11-17-2 in 29 starts for what was the worst team in the standings. He was traded to Nashville mid-season, then to Montreal, where he was assigned to the American Hockey League before mercifully being sent home to re-evaluate his career.

He signed the following summer with the Arizona Coyotes, rehabbed his NHL career for half a season in the desert playing behind Mike Smith then was traded in January 2015 to Minnesota, where he's become one of the very best netminders in the League.

It truly is a remarkable comeback story.

Now, following a victory in Vancouver on Friday night, Dubnyk stands one win shy of 200 for his NHL career, and has a chance to achieve it where it all began for him in Edmonton.

Video: Wild pregame at Edmonton Oilers

Dubnyk admitted Saturday morning that he couldn't have imagined 200 victories ever becoming a possibility.

"No ... 200 games would have been great at that point," Dubnyk said. "It's cool, it's exciting and it's been a fun period of time here over the last few years. It started here, so it's a good opportunity hopefully to get it tonight."

Drafted by the Oilers as an 18-year-old in 2004, Dubnyk debuted in Edmonton in 2009 and played in 19 games his rookie season. 

After playing 35 games the following year, Dubnyk played a bulk of the games in his third season in 2011-12. He went 14-16-6 during the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign and posted solid numbers, including a .920 save percentage, but there wasn't much help around him.

Eventually, that took a toll.

While the Wild arrived late Friday night and doesn't have an off day in the city, Dubnyk said every return to Edmonton offers him a chance to reflect on his time here and how he grew as both a person and a player.

"I always feel that way when I come back to Edmonton," Dubnyk said. "It's a little different with the new arena (Rogers Place), you don't get the same feelings as you did coming into Rexall [Place], but I'll always remember this place. 

"Obviously, we weren't playing great; it was a rocky start, but they believed in me and stuck with me and gave me a chance. That's something I'll always remember."

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD

Jason Zucker - Eric Staal - Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter

Tyler Ennis - Matt Cullen - Charlie Coyle

Marcus Foligno - Joel Eriksson Ek - Daniel Winnik

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba

Gustav Olofsson - Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock

OILERS

Milan Lucic - Connor McDavid - Leon Draisaitl

Drake Caggiula - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Pontus Aberg

Anton Slepyshev - Ryan Strome - Jesse Puljujarvi

Iiro Pakarinen - Jujhar Khaira - Zack Kassian

Darnell Nurse - Adam Larsson 

Kris Russell - Ethan Bear

Andrej Sekera - Matt Benning

Cam Talbot

Al Montoya


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