Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk will be back between the pipes Tuesday when the team hosts the Rangers at Xcel Energy Center, but the coaching staff is considering giving backup Alex Stalock a game during its remaining five-game homestand.
“We’re thinking about it,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But, hey, Duby was third star of the week. He’s starting to get into a groove. It’s not like he’s been overtaxed. We’ve played nine games in the last 29 days. As much as Alex’s numbers are fabulous at home, it’s tough to sit there and not play Duby.”
Dubnyk was crowned the NHL’s third star of the week Monday after going 2-0-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .950 save percentage. He hasn’t lost in regulation at home since Nov.4; since Nov.14, he’s 11-0-3 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in Saint Paul.
“I would believe that it gives the team confidence, confidence in that if they make a mistake they’re not worried about it going in the net,” Boudreau said. “When goalies play great, or great goalies are themselves, then you feel that and it makes you play better. I think consequently, we feel good when he’s playing like that.”
The Wild will roll out a new look in front of Dubnyk Tuesday, as defenseman Nick Seeler will make his NHL debut. He’ll be the fifth Minnesota-born player to play his first NHL game with the Wild.
“To play in this league, you gotta be a good hockey player,” Boudreau said. “So don’t try to do things you’re not supposed to do. So just go out there and have fun.”
Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Nino Niederreiter-Eric Staal-Tyler Ennis
Zach Parise-Matt Cullen-Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Daniel Winnik
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Gustav Olofsson-Matt Dumba
Nick Seeler-Nate Prosser
99: Career goals for winger Nino Niederreiter.
9: Power-play goals allowed by the Wild on home ice, the second-fewest in the NHL.
18-4-3: Goalie Devan Dubnyk’s record since Nov.9.
31: Points in 38 career games for Rangers winger Rick Nash.
8: Rangers have scored 11 or more goals this season.
About the Rangers:
New York is embracing the future, an approach that could position the team as sellers at the upcoming NHL trade deadline, but the team is still mathematically in contention for a playoff spot. The Rangers entered Tuesday’s game two points shy of the final berth in the Eastern Conference after winning their last two games. Before that, they had dropped four in a row and seven of its previous eight. Winger Mats Zuccarello has a team-high 40 points, while winger Michael Grabner paces the pack in goals with 23. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist has given up three goals over his last two games after surrendering 14 goals during the prior four-game span.