Whatever happens at Sunday’s All-Star Game in Nashville, Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk laughingly begged reporters Monday, “No computing stats.”
“Devan Dubnyk returns from the All-Star Game with a 28.67 goals-against average,” Dubnyk kidded the headline may read.
For the first time, the All-Star Game will be a 3-on-3 tournament.
The first “game” will be a 20-minute semifinal featuring the Central Division vs. the Pacific Division. Dubnyk and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne will each play 10 minutes. The second “game” will feature the Atlantic Division vs. the Metropolitan Division.
The semifinal winners will clash in a third, 20-minute championship game.
“As much as it’s supposed to be a fun atmosphere, the goalies in the new format, there will be pressure to keep it under 10 a game,” Dubnyk said, laughing. “Less than one goal a minute.”
Dubnyk, whose wife, two children, parents, brother, sister and their families will be accompanying him for the weekend, is especially looking forward to Saturday’s skills competition.
“There’s no pressure in the skills competition. You just go have fun,” Dubnyk said. “You relax and have fun with the best players in the world.”
Dubnyk may have to take part in a goalie goal competition during the Skills Challenge Relay event.
“I can watch tape [of Martin Brodeur] for years, it’s not going to make me shoot it like he does,” Dubnyk said. “I will do my very best to just get the puck down the ice.”
The Wild and Coyotes’ routines were fouled up Monday because Xcel Energy Center’s ice wasn’t ready for morning skates due to the changeover from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. That’s also why the puck drop was a late 7:30 p.m.
“You come back off the road and probably would have [had Sunday] off had we had ice here [Monday] morning, but it is what it is. We have to respond,” coach Mike Yeo said.
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett didn’t care, jokingly saying Arizona has played better whenever he has scrapped the morning skate.
The Wild and Coyotes did get ice time at St. Thomas Academy, but both teams only sent a handful of players to take part.
The arena staff’s hard work began earlier this month when workers built an extra layer of ice for figure skating and then put another NHL layer on top.
Following the Wild’s game Jan. 15 against Winnipeg, they shaved the top NHL layer for figure skating. Sunday night, they shaved the figure skating layer to get back to the original NHL sheet.
Penalty kill improving
In the first 23 games of the season, the Wild ranked 29th on the penalty kill, allowing 15 goals on 58 chances (.741 success rate). In the past 25 games before Monday, the Wild had killed 46 of 54 (.852) for the eighth-best penalty kill during that stretch.
Remember, the Wild had the NHL’s best penalty kill last season.
“Just all of us, I feel like we’re finally in sync right now and gone back to last year it feels like,” said center Erik Haula, who scored a shorthanded goal in Los Angeles last week. “We got back to the level that we were.
“We got a couple new pieces [Jarret Stoll] and we are in sync with each other now.”
• Ryan Carter (hand) missed his seventh consecutive game against Arizona, but the veteran winger is practicing and the hope is he can be ready by the road trip after the break.
• Winger Justin Fontaine, scratched the previous two games, returned against the Coyotes and winger Jordan Schroeder and defenseman Tyson Strachan were reassigned to Iowa during the All-Star break.