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Wild Trio Takes Part in NHL All-Star Game

Central Division eliminated early in loss against Pacific

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

LOS ANGELES -- As Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk settled in for his post All-Star Game media scrum, the goal horn inside Staples Center sounded somewhere in the distance.

"Oh, that horn is going to haunt my dreams," Dubnyk said.

To say the 3-on-3 All-Star Game format doesn't benefit goaltenders would be putting it mildly. The fact that Dubnyk leads the NHL in goals against average and save percentage didn't mean much on this day; Dubnyk played the second half of the Central Division's 10-3 loss to the Pacific Division in the first mini-game of the 2017 NHL All-Star Game. 

Things started out well enough for Dubnyk, who shut down a handful of breakaways in just the first 90 seconds of his appearance.

But as things usually do in this format, eventually the scorers start to score as defense becomes more and more scant. 

Still, more at ease this time around after making his second All-Star Game appearance, Dubnyk will have plenty of other memories to take home besides the ringing of the goal horn.

"I enjoyed [Sunday] a lot more than last year," Dubnyk said. "I was a little nervous last year and probably took it a little more seriously than I needed to. You just have to do you best, especially when they're coming in with no speed, it's tough."

Video: Devan Dubnyk All-Star Postgame

For Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, making his first appearance behind the bench at an All-Star Game, the inner coach kicked in. Not happy with the pace of his Central crew early in the game, Boudreau said a couple of things to try and rally the group.

"Then I shut up in a hurry," he said. 

It's a tough position for coaches to be in. While the events of the weekend are designed for fun and for fans to get an up close experience with players, a grizzled vet like Boudreau still wants to win, especially with $1 million on the line.

"I think it was too much fun and not enough play," Boudreau said. "But what are you going to do? I'm not used to these kind of games but you just have to take it with a grain of salt.

"I think the game is fabulous. I think the format is fabulous. And it's totally understandable, guys are on their break here having fun. You're not going to get the intensity you have in a Stanley Cup Final, but the intensity of a preseason game would be good every now and again."

Video: Bruce Boudreau All-Star Postgame

The seemingly endless ringing of the goal horn put Boudreau in an unfamiliar position, as Minnesota, which entered the weekend as the stingiest team in the Western Conference and second-best in the NHL, hasn't been prone to giving up many goals against this season.

"Every time we got scored on, I looked back and he'd be biting his lip," said Wild defenseman Ryan Suter. "He doesn't bite his lip during the regular season." 

The veteran All-Star of the group, Suter wrapped up his third trip to the event, a weekend spent with his wife, Becky, his nephew and his six-year old son Brooks, trailing close behind almost the entire weekend.

Despite the loss on Sunday, it was still a memorable experience for Suter and his family.

"It was fun. Weather was great and the NHL did a great job of taking care of the players and the families," Suter said. "Can't say a bad thing about the weekend."

Video: Ryan Suter All-Star Postgame

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