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Devan Dubnyk Puts the Game On His Stick

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Quite the soap opera performance for the Wild netminder, with some excellent plays, and some questionable ones.

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The entire Minnesota Wild team showed up and played like a fourth-liner trying to keep his name in the lineup.  Each offensive unit was dominant over the Arizona Coyotes, and the Wild also showed their elite defensive prowess by completely containing the Arizona offense.  Following the second frame, shots were 24-6 in favor of the Wild, but in the most Minnesota way possible, the score remained 0-0.  Devan Dubnyk was probably wishing he had hand warmers in his gear because he saw so little action in the first nearly 50 minutes of the game.  Things would change in the latter half of the third period, however.

Charlie Coyle would miraculously break through the wall known as Louis Domingue who had been excellent all night, thwarting everything the Wild could throw at him while possessing the puck heavily in the Arizona zone.  In a game that saw Jason Pominville develop a Thomas Vanek-like allergy to shooting the puck, we also saw the anomaly of Mikael Granlund taking several big shots on goal.  But Domingue was equal to Granlund, Coyle and Chris Porter, all of whom were stuffed on breakaways throughout the game.  But as mentioned before, Charlie Coyle would break through and waken the sleeping beast.

The Coyotes began the third period with 6 shots, but would finish it with 23.  The Coyotes pushed back immensely and fired the puck at will.  Devan Dubnyk was immediately revived from being frozen in time and put on a goaltending clinic the final ten minutes of the game.  He was able to make all the saves he should plus a couple that no goaltender really has any business making.  His stellar play was a surprise for having seen no action throughout the game, but it was also Dubnyk who would continue to twist the fate of the game with a flick of his stick.

With under two minutes on the clock, Dubnyk chased down the puck behind the net with Martin Hanzal also crashing the glass.  Hanzal met Dubnyk at the puck as Dubnyk applied his body to check Hanzal off the puck.  Hanzal would neatly recover to capture the puck as Dubnyk was facing the boards, but Hanzal gave Dubnyk a little extra push and was sent to the sin bin for a roughing call.  But Arizona would quickly pull their goaltender and immediately strike back, dumping the puck deep.  Dubnyk would take a second skate behind the net to grab the puck in the trapezoid, but a short hesitation and a crashing Antoine Vermette would make Dubynk shutter and misplay the puck right into Vermette's trajectory.  Vermette would find Anthony Duclair in the slot with a wide open net to fire into.

The extra frame would have its own drama, with both teams having power play time and plenty of 4-on-4 time because of it.  Ultimately, the Wild would survive their second OT and head to the shootout, which they also previously had not won.  This time Duclair would prove the hero as he was the only player to score, though Charlie Coyle nearly knocked the goal off its moorings with his shot as he tried to tie and extend the shootout.  It was an ugly and frustrating loss for a team that showed plenty of jump to start the night and now has 8 days to sit around and think about what it did.