Devan Dubnyk is starting to really, really hate the 3-on-3. Last year, he campaigned for a separate goalie category for 3-on-3 goals against like they have for shootouts, and he brought that up with a smile again tonight after the Wild fell 3-2 in overtime here in Dallas.
There's a lot of randomness to 3-on-3 (see St. Louis a few weeks ago when the Wild had five shots and a Jason Zucker potential winner was stopped by Marco Scandella not long before the Blues' winner).
Tonight, there was no randomness. It was all Dallas.
Dubnyk, despite making four huge saves in overtime, couldn’t stop a fifth by stud defenseman John Klingberg with 1:42 left after the Wild gave up its umpteenth odd-man rush in overtime. Dubnyk said he’s really starting to dislike the 3-on-3, probably because the Wild’s been so unsuccessful (1-3).
The Wild continues to be sub-par with its changes and always seem to overextend its shift.
Tonight, Zucker, the overtime hero two nights earlier, was on the right side of a puck battle just inside the Stars blue line but got a little greedy and went to the wrong side.
When Jamie Benn won that puck over Mikko Koivu and bumped it up to Tyler Seguin, neither a stationary Koivu or an out-of-gas Zucker 45 seconds into his shift could backcheck with enough steam. Tyler Seguin fed Klingberg, and the NHL’s top-scoring blue-liner was one-on-one with Dubnyk and roofed the winner under the bar.
This came after Scandella dramatically forced overtime. He has been at his ailing father’s side in Montreal, but surprised the Wild by returning to the team after midnight Saturday.
Charlie Coyle and Erik Haula assisted on Scandella’s goal, who apparently told Dubnyk he’d score one tonight.
Check out the game story on startribune.com/wild for some heartwarming quotes from Haula and Dubnyk.
“I was real happy for him, getting that goal, but you could see all game long,” Yeo said. “It is what we talked about before the game, it’s pretty impressive really that he could not be on the ice all week and then come out and play the way that he did tonight. He was a horse, certainly one of our leaders there tonight just as far as the way that he was battling and competing and winning loose pucks and helping us get to our game.”
Yeo wasn’t happy with the game overall though. The Wild gave up one power-play goal, really two because the other Dallas regulation goal came one second after a power play expired. The Wild went 0 for 4 on the power play, the first three registering no shots. The Wild was outshot 36-24, and had another 19 shots blocked and 23 miss the net.
Jason Pominville continues to be unbelievably snakebit. Sixteen games without a goal now, one off matching the longest drought of his career. Tonight, he had a puck four or five inches from the goal line thrown in there by Chris Porter, and Pominville’s shot is blocked by Seguin.
Dubnyk made 33 saves and was dialed in. He made a ton of great saves and continues to only be beaten by point shots that are usually deflected. The Wild has to do a better job eliminating guys from in front of the net.
“They got an awful lot of skill and they’re able to make those plays,” Yeo said. “They’re a good hockey team. They’re where they are for a reason, but again, I know we lost to a good hockey team tonight but I don’t really think we were at our best.”
This Stars team is very, very good, and I’ll probably write next Sunday’s column on them because I gathered a lot of yarn today.
You can tell by the ice times tonight, Ryan Suter logged over 32 minutes Matt Dumba played 12, Christian Folin 7. One reason for Suter's workload is a couple defenseman like Dumba are banged up. I think that's part of the reason why the Wild decided to play seven defenseman. Nate Prosser played five shifts though, all on the PK.
That’s it for me. Give the gamer, notebook and Sunday Insider a read. Monday’s article will likely be on the Iowa Wild, which is off to another poor year and there’s no doubt it has affected the Wild in terms of callups. There’s just no way to paint a pretty picture. If the Wild had a sure-thing callup, it wouldn’t be calling up different forwards and playing them a few minutes (tonight, scratching the forward recalled, Brett Bulmer).
The Wild returned to Minnesota for a day and will take Sunday off. Rachel Blount is covering Monday’s practice, and I’ll meet the team in Pittsburgh later that day. Last time in Pittsburgh, it either didn’t go so well or did go well depending on your perspective.
The Wild got smoked 7-2 last Jan. 13, the final game of Niklas Backstrom’s season (and maybe more), a game that triggered a closed-door meeting. The Wild traded for Dubnyk the next day and the Wild went 28-9-3 the rest of the season.