Devan Dubnyk changed back to his old red and green striped pads Thursday against the Washington Capitals, but superstition or changing things up weren’t the reasons.
“We had a little bit of a malfunction [Wednesday with the newer pads], so I just went back to the old ones. The old ones weren’t that beat up,” he said. “Some stuff started breaking down on them and wasn’t really lining up properly for me.”
Still, with Thursday’s loss to the Caps, Dubnyk’s on a nine-game losing streak (0-8-1) and coach Mike Yeo noted earlier this week that he noticed his goalie putting “an awful lot of burden on himself” lately.
That’s why Yeo tried to give Dubnyk a mental break by not starting him Tuesday against Dallas.
The former Oiler who played for three teams two seasons ago and ended in the minors said, “You do everything you can to not let [losses affect you], but I don’t know if I’ve ever had a stretch like this before. And everybody knows I’ve had a bad stretch before.
“And it’s strange. It’s strange because I feel good about my game.”
Dubnyk has given up 15 goals in his past four starts, but he had given up nine goals in the five starts before that. All have been losses as Dubnyk has seen his once 18-11-4 record become 18-19-5.
“You come into each game and feel like you need to be doing more,” Dubnyk said. “Funny thing about being a goalie is it’s a reactionary position. It’s a rare position in sports that’s 100 percent reactionary and you can only do what is given to you and what comes at you, so it’s not a good mind-set to approach a game to be trying to do something. You have to stick to what you know works. Like all of us, eventually we’re going to get out of this thing.”
His funk makes him really appreciate the crazy season Washington’s Braden Holtby is putting together. He is 35-5-3 with one regulation loss in the previous 32 games. He’s on pace to break Martin Brodeur’s single-season wins record of 48.
“It’s crazy to watch,” Dubnyk said. “He’s been a phenomenal goalie for years now, but nobody expects anybody to do what he’s doing right now. There’s a reason certain records are set the way they are because they don’t happen very often.
‘‘I’m happy that he’s in the East, and we’ll keep it that way. It’s always fun to see guys performing and setting the bar at the level he is.”
The Wild was hoping to get defenseman Jared Spurgeon (deep bruise) back against the Capitals, but he missed his second game in a row. With Jonas Brodin (broken foot) out, that meant a third straight game for Christian Folin and second for rookie Mike Reilly.
“He’s not ready,” Yeo said. “He’s shooting the puck OK, but [he’s] not ready to go in the corners and battle against a team that battles hard.”
Yeo hopes Spurgeon can return during Saturday’s matinee against Boston.
• On Feb. 23, two days after the Stadium Series game at TCF Bank Stadium, the Wild will hold three, one-hour skating parties for fans on the stadium ice sheet.
The sessions are 7 p.m., 8:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and cost $20. Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster or by calling the Wild offices.
• Wild winger Chris Porter was scratched for the third time in four games.