The Wild will travel east for the second time this week Friday when it sets off on a three-game road trip that starts Saturday in Boston, but Devan Dubnyk won’t accompany the team.
Dubnyk remains absent due to a family issue, and coach Bruce Boudreau said he isn’t sure when the goaltender will return.
With Dubnyk unavailable, No. 2 Alex Stalock started a second straight game Thursday against the Avalanche and Kaapo Kahkonen backed him up. Kahkonen was recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis.
“[Stalock’s] going to have to play at least two out of the three [games],” Boudreau said.
Like Dubnyk, defenseman Matt Dumba missed practice Wednesday but Dumba was back in the lineup Thursday after sitting out the third period of the 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday due to an undisclosed issue.
“It took a lot for him just to battle tonight,” Boudreau said. “He didn’t look anywhere as near as sharp as he normally would. We’ll see how he is [Friday]. A couple times he looked like Jimmy Brown getting up after an 8-yard run.”
Sticking with it
Zach Parise frequently changes his stick, but the winger went back to his go-to model Tuesday in Buffalo and responded with his first two-goal performance of the season.
“It’s good to see him settle down with one stick and start scoring some goals,” defenseman Ryan Suter said.
Parise’s Rolodex of sticks isn’t a superstition. He’s just continually in search of a better fit that will enable him to expand his skill set. So, he regularly experiments with the curve and lie (the angle between the blade and the shaft).
“I came in [this season] with a bigger curve, and then all of a sudden I felt I couldn’t handle the puck,” Parise said. “So I switched back to what I always used.”
Although the manufacturer is different since Easton is no longer making sticks — “That’s really throwing me off,” Parise said — he’s used this particular curve and lie since 2006. Not only is it a natural feel for Parise, but that familiarity also makes it so “you don’t take an extra second to think.”
Most players don’t change their stick as often as he does, Parise said, but he likes to tweak. He even tries out other players’ sticks and asks NHLers around the league what they use.
Already this season, Parise has worked through six different sticks. He said he limits himself to two per game.
Defenseman Greg Pateryn, who’s on the mend from core muscle surgery, won’t make the team’s upcoming road trip.
When Pateryn will be eligible to return remains unclear, but Boudreau mentioned the defenseman could take a conditioning assignment in the minors to prepare for game action before getting back in the Wild’s lineup.
“There’s a lot of things that could be done,” Boudreau said. “He could go to Iowa to play a few games just because he hasn’t played a game. Or if we needed him right away because we weren’t playing good, he’d be thrown right in.”
Winger Marcus Foligno, who’s been out with a lower-body injury since Nov. 7, also won’t go on the trip.
“He’s getting better,” Boudreau said. “He’s just not on the ice yet.”