Wild at Leafs tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT
FINALLLLLLLLLLLLLY, this trip is coming to an end. Please give yesterday’s blog a read for lineup details, but the Wild looks to end the 1-1-2 trip on a high against a high-powered opponent on home ice. In the Leafs’ last four home wins, six, six, six and four goals!
So Devan Dubnyk, making his 300th career start tonight, probably will have to be good. The Wild typically play tight games, but its 5-7-4 one-goal game record is actually the fifth-worst one-goal game winning percentage in the NHL (.313). Of the Wild’s 12 losses, 11 have been one-goal losses, which is kind of nuts in a league where there are usually a lot of empty-net goals.
Dubnyk didn’t realize it was his 300th and hopes he doesn’t have to put any money on the board tonight (players hitting milestones, in their hometown, playing against a former team typically put a sum of money on the locker-room whiteboard that usually goes to the guy with the game-winning goal).
“Don’t tell any of the guys that. It’s been an expensive trip already,” Dubnyk joked. “It’s a lot, and I guess most of them probably piled up the last couple years. It’s been fun, and fingers crossed there can be some more.”
Since coming to the Wild, he is 69-41-11 with a 2.05 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and 14 shutouts in 125 games, leading the league in games, shutouts, save percentage and goals-against average and ranking second in wins in that span amongst goalies with at least 65 games.
I remember writing after the Penguins loss Jan. 13, 2015, how it was more than time for Chuck Fletcher to acquire a goalie.
I was chatting with TSN/ESPN's Pierre LeBrun this morning. We were in a Courtyard Marriott lobby in Buffalo writing together in the late afternoon Jan. 14 when the Wild traded for Dubnyk. My reaction to him, "Devan Dubnyk?"
I think it's worked out.
Dubnyk leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.63), save percentage (.946) and shutouts (four). Yet, what’s so cool about him is how relaxed he is on gamedays.
Not kidding you: this morning he held court with the media for probably a half-hour, then took pictures with a ton of kids, including goalies, and signed autographs.
One of the kids was Chuck Fletcher’s 12-year-old nephew, Will, a goalie who won his peewee game last night. Fletcher went. Very cute story, but the goal song for their games is Chelsea Dagger. So the night before, Will and his 11-year-old brother, Owen, who runs the music in the rink, were talking how there’s no way they can play the Chicago Blackhawks’ goal song with their uncle in the crowd.
So, they dug up the Wild’s old goal song, “Crowd Chant” by Joe Satriani, and played that.
Not much more to say after yesterday’s blog, which has all the details on tonight’s game.
Bruce Boudreau and John Anderson grew up in the Leafs system and return here as coaches on the same team for the first time. So they were very popular today. Boudreau assisted on Anderson’s first junior goal and first Leafs goal, but Boudreau joked that most their best moments in Toronto “are untellable.”
I’m writing my game notebook on how well Nino Niederreiter is playing. He has been an analytics star for the Wild since he arrived in Minnesota, but ask him about analytics, and “I don’t know a whole lot.”
Pretty interesting stuff.
That’s it for moi. Did I mention how much I can’t wait to get home tomorrow?
BY the way, the latest Russo-Souhan Show can be heard here. The next live show will be at Hell’s Kitchen on Monday, although the time has been changed to 6 p.m. now because Jim’s returning from Jacksonville late. PLEASE, PLEASE, COME ON DOWN!