DALLAS – Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk defended the shot exactly like he wanted.
He tracked the puck and dropped down to front it, not noticing any holes when he relived the se-uence by watching it back on video.
“I wouldn’t play it different,” Dubnyk said.
So when Stars center Tyler Seguin’s windup squeaked through him to tee up a 3-1 Dallas win Friday at American Airlines Center in the Wild’s return from an eight-day break, Dubnyk wasn’t just upset; he was also confused.
“It’s a save you need to make, but to be honest I’m making that same butterfly next time and maybe it won’t go through me,” he said. “It’s disappointing. Obviously, you want to come up with that save in a 1-1 game. But in that situation, I’m not going to change what I do.”
The loss nixed the momentum of a three-game Wild winning streak amassed before its layoff and dropped the team to the top wild-card spot from the third seed in the Central Division — a spot the Stars seized.
What made the setback even more unsavory was the fact Seguin’s tie-breaking goal 12 minutes, 18 seconds into the third period blemished an otherwise solid effort from Dubnyk, who was the main reason the Wild was in contention so late in the game.
“It’s unfortunate,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Now I do think it was tipped. I would venture to guess if you ask Duby he would say that he should’ve had it.”
On the heels of his appearance at the NHL All-Star Game last weekend, Dubnyk buoyed the team early as the players in front of him worked to rediscover a rhythm. His 11 saves in the first period kept the Wild even with the Stars, who were playing their second game since their league-mandated break.
“You want to be sharp,” said Dubnyk, who totaled 29 saves. “You try to concentrate a little extra on things, more just for myself, too, because I’ve been off.”
Dubnyk remained locked in to start the second, stymieing a 2-on-0 rush for Dallas, but soon after that stop, the Stars finally beat him on a tip by center Andrew Cogliano at 3:12.
Later in the period, the Wild tied it during a four-minute power play when a pinching Brad Hunt buried a one-timer past Dallas goalie Ben Bishop at 8:48 — the defenseman’s first goal with the Wild since he was acquired in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights on Jan. 21.
“I really didn’t have to do much,” Hunt said. “It hit my stick and went in.”
Dallas had a chance to retake the lead on its lone look with the man advantage not long after Hunt’s goal, but the penalty kill — led by Dubnyk — was strong. He got in the way of an attempt by winger Al-exander Radulov before scooting to the other side of the crease to cut down on Seguin’s angle before his shot hit the side of the net.
Dubnyk also punched out his blocker against winger Denis Gurianov and gloved a rising shot by defenseman Miro Heiskanen.
“He held us in there,” defenseman Jared Spurgeon said.
Amid scrambled lines in the third period since the Wild was playing without winger Pontus Aberg, who left because of a lower-body injury, the team made its heaviest push.
But it wasn’t enough to crack Bishop, who ended up with 21 saves.
Seguin also added an empty-net goal with 24 seconds to go.
“It’s disappointing to not get the result,” Dubnyk said.