BUFFALO, N.Y. – Name a goal scored on Devan Dubnyk, and the Wild goaltender claims he can probably recall exactly what happened on the play.
So, let’s give it a try: Now-teammate Teemu Pulkkinen’s first NHL goal, which happened to come against Dubnyk two seasons ago while the young winger played for the Detroit Red Wings.
“It was in the first period and he came across the blue line and, I believe, it was Stephen Weiss who gave him a nice little drop pass that he leaned on between the circles and put past me before I could calculate what was happening,” Dubnyk said. “It was a heck of a shot.”
Told Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos asserts he can freakishly remember every detail of every goal he has ever scored, Dubnyk seemed hardly impressed.
“Yeah, but I’ve given up a lot more goals than Stamkos has scored,” Dubnyk said, jokingly.
Luckily for Dubnyk, he didn’t give up any goals during Tuesday’s win in Boston, meaning he was able to sleep Tuesday night without having the memory of any goal embed into his brain. Coach Bruce Boudreau was so delighted with how sharp Dubnyk was against Bruins, he instructed reporters to “touch wood somewhere,” saying, “that’s what good goaltending is all about.”
“It’s a goalie’s curse,” Dubnyk said. “I could probably tell you exactly how every goal went in for the last probably several seasons. Maybe there are a few blips in there, but the vast majority, definitely.
“After games, you’re always breaking things down, and you go to sleep at night and you’re thinking about the play and what you could have done differently or better next time. You think about it so much that it just gets burned in your memory.”
Dubnyk, 30, has nothing but good memories in Buffalo. It was at Key Bank Center that he made his Wild debut on Jan. 15, 2015. Like Tuesday’s blowout in Boston, Dubnyk didn’t have to remember anything about any goals scored against him that night either.
After taking a red-eye from Phoenix to proverbially save the Wild’s season, Dubnyk won 7-0 in his first of 38 consecutive starts and for the first of his 11 shutouts with the Wild.
Since that debut against the Sabres, he is 62-36-9 with the Wild with a 2.12 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 111 games.
Over that span, Dubnyk leads the NHL in games and shutouts and ranks second in wins, goals-against average and save percentage.
“[Equipment manager] Tony [DaCosta] said he was going to fly me to Arizona and get me on an overnight flight here. No thanks,” Dubnyk said. “But that [Sabres visitors] room from now to the end of my career will bring back good feelings.”
Dubnyk went on to win the Masterton Trophy in 2015, finish third in Vezina Trophy voting and was named to the NHL’s Second All-Star Team. Last season, he represented the Wild in his first All-Star Game.
If he beats the Sabres on Thursday night, Dubnyk will pass Dwayne Roloson for third in franchise history with 63 wins. His 11 shutouts are already one short of Manny Fernandez and four behind Roloson for second in franchise history.
He has gotten off to a solid start this season, going 3-1-1 with a 2.01 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.
His lateral movement and puck tracking have been exceptional since last week’s win over Toronto, a game where Boudreau said, “Now I have a feeling when I know he’s on.”
Dubnyk kids that he probably lost half a dozen shutouts with the Wild in the last two minutes.
“Maybe I should close them out better,” he cracked. “This is just a fun group to play with. I’ve said that from the start. They give me confidence to do what I need to do. Some games are tougher than others. But these guys are going to give me a chance to do my job every night, and those 11 shutouts show that.”