When Devan Dubnyk isn’t happy with a performance in goal, he wants to get another start as soon as possible so he can move on. The Wild goalie didn’t get the chance to do that last week, when the team recalled Alex Stalock from its AHL affiliate in Iowa and gave Dubnyk a two-game rest.
That forced Dubnyk to wait four days to erase the memory of a subpar start against Washington on March 28. He didn’t mind, given his strong return Sunday against Colorado. Dubnyk stopped 30 of 32 shots in a 5-2 victory, setting a franchise record with his 38th win of the season.
In hindsight, Dubnyk said, the break was good for him. He has played 63 games this season, and his statistics dipped in March, with a 2-7-2 record over a three-week period. During the past few days, he got some much-needed rest, as well as plenty of valuable practice time to analyze and sharpen his game.
“You get a chance mentally to just step back and take a breath,’’ he said. “Just even a couple days of practice, to be able to focus on that day and not prepare for the next day — especially after this month — it’s a good opportunity to do that.
“I had three days where I could really just focus on what I was doing on the ice and work hard, and get that technical part of it in.’’
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was happy to see Dubnyk return to form. Given Dubnyk’s heavy workload in a high-stress position, the coach knew a rest would benefit him, a feeling that was validated when Dubnyk snared a sharp shot from Colorado’s Mikko Rantinen in the first period.
“That glove save he made, he looked sharp just grabbing it,’’ Boudreau said. “He was going, ‘This is mine.’
“We just wanted to push the reset button and give him three days with [goalie coach] Bob [Mason] to go over the mechanics of things.’’
Kuemper will play again
Stalock backed up Dubnyk on Sunday, marking the third consecutive game in which Darcy Kuemper was scratched. Boudreau said after the game that he hasn’t given up on Kuemper, adding he intends to play him during the final week of the regular season.
Kuemper gave up four goals on 21 shots in his last game, a loss to Vancouver on March 25. He has played only once in the Wild’s past 12 games. This season, he has appeared in 17 games, with a 7-5-3 record, a goals-against average of 3.26 and a save percentage of .900.
Boudreau said the Wild’s lack of practice time in March made it tough for both Dubnyk and Kuemper to get the work they needed to fix any imperfections in their game. The Wild ends the regular season with three games this week, playing Carolina at home Tuesday before games at Colorado and Arizona.
“[Kuemper] will get back there,’’ Boudreau said. “I’m sure he’ll play this week.’’
• Jason Zucker (lower-body injury) out for a second consecutive game. Boudreau said after Saturday’s 3-0 loss at Nashville that Zucker was “sore’’ and could have played, but the coach didn’t want to risk further injury. Ryan White and Nate Prosser also were scratched.
• The Stanley Cup will make a stop in St. Paul on Monday. NBC will be bringing the trophy to Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub sometime between noon and 1:30 p.m., and fans are invited to view and photograph the cup.