The Wild lost for the fifth time in seven games Tuesday night and for the fourth consecutive game allowed four goals.
Washington beat the Wild 4-2 just two nights after Chicago beat the Wild by the same score and knocked starting goalie Devan Dubnyk out of the game after scoring twice on two shots in the first period.
Dubnyk and the Wild defense have given up too many goals during the recent skid and despite their success have allowed four or more goals 20 times this season. The Wild has lost 13 games when giving up four or more goals.
The defensive problems have flared up since Columbus ended the Wild’s 12-game winning streak on Dec. 31. Before the New Year’s Eve showdown, the Wild had only given up four goals or more four times. Three of those games were losses.
The Wild would win 10 of its next 13 games throughout January, but a trend was starting to develop. In each of those losses, the Wild gave up four goals. Of the Wild’s 13 defeats since Dec. 31, 10 have been by four or more goals.
The defensive problems were even obvious in the Wild’s lone win in the past eight days after allowing four goals against Florida in a 7-4 victory.
The Wild also has give up the first goal eight times in the past 10 games.
After Wild coach Bruce Boudreau pulled Dubnyk from the game Sunday, the goalie said “I wasn’t upset with the decision at all. I felt fine. I’ve played enough games. I don’t get nervous or rattled. I know my job at that point is to try to make the next save and try to keep it at two, and I was ready to do that. But I completely understand in that situation at that part of the game that you need a spark, and I told him that after.”
Boudreau remains confident in what he calls the most consistent goalie the coach has ever had.
“He’s the guy we’re leaning on,” Boudreau said. “He’s our guy, and we’ll live and die with him.”
Dubnyk owns a 2.11 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage in 55 games. The Wild goalies have a 3.4 goals-against average in their 25 defeats.
“I just think we need to sharpen up a little bit, every one of us," Dubnyk told Star Tribune beat writer Michael Russo after Tuesday's loss. "If you look at the games, we’re really not playing poorly at all. There’s a lot of really good stretches of hockey and a lot of chances created, which is what we’re used to doing. I think it’s, like I said before, just small things that can kind of bite you when things aren’t going well, whether it’s changes or if I need to come up with a save on Ovi ... whatever it is, those are just things you sharpen up and the rest of the game comes. We know how good we are in here and we don’t have to think about changing anything. We just have to sharpen up a little bit.”