The Wild didn’t need to trot out a third goaltender Tuesday, with backup Alex Stalock holding off the Flames in a 2-1 shootout win at Xcel Energy Center after No.1 Devan Dubnyk left the game with a lower-body injury.
But if the team was pressed for another option, it had one ready in Connor Beaupre.
“It’s kind of a dream to do if you get the odd chance to get in there,” Beaupre said.
This is the second season Beaupre has been an emergency goalie option at Xcel Energy Center. He shares the duties and is slated to cover 19 to 20 games this season.
“You’re a little bit nervous going into it,” said Beaupre, the son of former North Stars goalie Don Beaupre. “The more times you come and the more time I skate with the guys, you get more used to it and you’re not so nervous and it’s just another time you’re playing hockey.”
Beaupre was contacted by team personnel during the first intermission. A spectator from the press box when he’s on-call, he reported downstairs and the team had a jersey made up for him.
The 24-year-old also had the pads his dad previously wore, and the two were texting during the game.
“He just said, ‘Well, you better hope Al doesn’t go down or you gotta go in there,’” Beaupre said.
An assistant hockey coach at Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Beaupre played club at University of Denver and currently suits up for a couple men’s leagues. Helping out the Wild is part of the motivation for taking a gig like this, but so is the slim chance of actually getting inserted into a game.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said.
Here’s what else to watch for after the Wild’s shootout win over the Flames.
- Coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t have an update on Dubnyk after the game, but he interpreted the fact Dubnyk finished out the first period despite struggling as a sign what’s bothering him isn’t too serious.
But losing a No.1 for any action is tough to take.
“We got four games until next Tuesday, so obviously I’m concerned,” Boudreau said. “But I don’t want to get too concerned until I know what it is.”
- If Dubnyk is sidelined for any period of time, Stalock certainly looks poised to handle the responsibility.
He’s been extremely steady in his past two games, stopping 31 pucks in the 4-3 overtime win over the Sharks Sunday and then giving up just one goal in relief Tuesday.
Stalock knew during intermission he’d be taking over, a heads-up that enabled him to get mentally prepared, but it was still impressive how steady he was on short notice.
“It’s just going in and giving the team a chance to win every night, and that's the goal no matter what position I'm playing,” he said. “It's go out and give the team a chance.”
- The Wild received key contributions from its bottom-six – the third time that’s happened in the past four games.
Center Matt Cullen scored in regulation, nixing a 17-game goalless drought with his 250th career goal, and winger Chris Stewart capitalized in the shootout for the 11th time in his career.
“I went over to that end of the corner, and I think [Stewart] said, ‘Where am I going? One, two or three?’” Boudreau said. “I figured I gotta put him in then.”
Forward Charlie Coyle went first in the shootout, getting stopped by Flames goalie Mike Smith. Captain Mikko Koivu hit the crossbar, and Smith also turned aside center Eric Staal before winger Mikael Granlund converted the eventual deciding goal.
Stalock stopped the last four shooters (forwards Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett and Micheal Ferland) after winger Johnny Gaudreau scored in the first round. He flipped the puck over Stalock but not before his forward progress during the try was called into question.
“I’ll have to watch it closer, but it looked to me like he was going backwards and I don’t think your’e always to go backwards,” Boudreau said. “But they review it in Toronto, and they said it was good so I guess they must have taken their time and looked at it.”