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Dubnyk's save of the year candidate not enough for Wild in Nashville

Minnesota can't keep lead in third period, drops season opener in The Music City

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

NASHVILLE -- The NHL season was barely 24 hours old and Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk had already made a save that will go down as perhaps the best any goalie in the League will make this season. 

After an outstanding first period in which Dubnyk's 14 saves were the only reason the Wild was in the hockey game, the veteran goalie outdid himself.

Like his incredible save on Opening Night in Detroit two seasons ago, Dubnyk made a stop that had the entire hockey world buzzing.

Tweet from @InGoalMedia: We can all retire. You will never make a save that feels as good as just watching this slice of utter perfection by Devan Dubnyk. Stack. Windmill. Catch.

With Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund flying into the offensive end on a quick 2-on-1, Duchene sent a pretty saucer pass to his right that landed right in the wheelhouse of the former Wild winger.

Granlund didn't cheat himself, getting absolutely everything on a one-timer that was labeled for the twine just under the crossbar.

Then, out of nowhere, Dubnyk slid over, stacked the pads and windmilled his glove, snatching the puck out of mid-air.

Tweet from @NHLGIFs: What a beautiful sight to behold!! 👏👏👏

While the glove work was outstanding, it was the old-school pad stack that added to it's beauty.

"That's how goalies played when I was growing up," Dubnyk said afterward. "I've got a little bit of that deep down there. You've got to break it out once in awhile."

Among the fans of the stop: Country music superstar Keith Urban, who had performed minutes earlier on stage in the arena during the first intermission and had joined NBCSN analyst A.J. Mleczko between the benches at ice level for the start of the second

"Insane. That's commitment right there," he crooned into his headset. "That's a whole new spin on tuck-and-roll right there."

Moments before, while seeing the play develop in real time, NBCSN play-by-play man Chris Cuthbert seemed in disbelief.

Tweet from @NHLonNBCSports: HAVE MERCY, Devan Dubnyk! 👀Early candidate for save of the year!

"Did you see that?!" Cuthbert asked his viewers. "That's the save of the night and it might be one of the saves of the year."

The save bookended the front side of a good period for the Wild. The Predators scored a couple of minutes later, but a pair of late goals by Minnesota had the visitors ahead 2-1 heading to the final period.

A sluggish start to the third doomed the Wild, however, en route to a 5-2 loss. Three of the four Nashville goals came on deflections and another came with Dubnyk on the bench late and the extra attacker on the ice for Minnesota.

But it was Dubnyk who kept the Wild afloat early in the game. His tremendous pad save on Filip Forsberg in the first period cancelled what should have been a sure goal.

Video: MIN@NSH: Dubnyk shuts down Forsberg on the rush

Minnesota took back-to-back penalties early in the game, and at one point, the Predators were outshooting the Wild 9-0. But Dubnyk was strong and allowed the Wild to settle in.

Brad Hunt's shot from the right point went off a Nashville stick then off Jason Zucker's jersey and past Pekka Rinne to put the Wild on the board just past the 16-minute mark of the second.

Less than a minute later, Matt Dumba rifled a shot from the top of the right circle to give the Wild a brief lead.

Too brief.

Just 27 seconds into the third period, Granlund got his revenge by deflecting a shot from the high slot through the Wild goaltender. 

Tweet from @mnwild: "That's not good enough for us... come tomorrow at practice we are gonna try to get better." - Mats Zuccarello📹 More from Dumba and Dubnyk after tonight's game.

Only 89 seconds had elapsed before the Predators took the lead when Austin Watson redirected a shot from his backside, putting Nashville in front for good. 

"To lock it down you gotta take sort of five minutes at a time and go from that," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "When they score at the 30-second mark, it's not really going into the period with a lead. You're playing 19 and a half minutes tied or from behind."


Postgame Hat Trick: Predators 5, Wild 2

Video: MIN@NSH: Dubnyk lays out to rob Granlund with glove

Video: MIN Recap: Zucker, Dumba score in 5-2 loss


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