DALLAS – Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk figured at some point Oilers phenom Connor McDavid would try a glove-side shot, an attempt Dubnyk remembered McDavid had used countless times throughout the season.
“I can just think of a running highlight reel of [him] going bar down on guys,” Dubnyk said.
So when McDavid broke free for a one-on-one duel with Dubnyk in a clash between the Central and Pacific divisions at the NHL All-Star Game last weekend, Dubnyk was ready — snaring the puck with his glove, a Statue of Liberty-esque save that stood out as one of the more memorable images of the two-day, on-ice exhibition.
“I just tried to keep my glove out and time it,” Dubnyk said. “ … I don’t get to make those too often. It was fun.”
That was one of 19 saves Dubnyk made against the Pacific Division in a 10-4 win for the Central Division in San Jose that pitted it against the Metropolitan Division in the final of the 3-on-3 tournament. And although Dubnyk’s squad fell 10-5 in that game, missing out on the $1 million prize, he enjoyed the event — his franchise-record third All-Star appearance.
“You have to emotionally not take it seriously,” Dubnyk said. “But you still have to go try as hard as you can. You have to try as hard as you can because if you don’t, it’s going to get ugly.”
Aside from the games last Saturday, Dubnyk made seven stops in the save streak competition the previous day.
He shared the experience with his wife, Jenn, who toured Apple headquarters in nearby Cupertino, Calif., with him, their two oldest sons, Nate and Parker, Dubnyk’s parents and brother and his brother-in-law.
“It’s always fun to have them here because they don’t say anything, but you can tell they’re excited to have all these superstars walking around,” Dubnyk said. “That was a lot of fun. Having he boys there is always special.”
The Wild activated center Eric Fehr off injured reserve, and he returned to the lineup Friday against the Stars — his first action since missing nine games with a lower-body injury.
“You want to get in,” Fehr said. “You want to contribute, and you want to be part of the team’s success. So it’s an exciting time for me.”
Fehr was injured when he was leveled with a late check by the Canadiens’ Kenny Agostino early in the first period of a Jan. 7 game in Montreal.
“Didn’t see the guy coming until literally the last second when I kind of let up and was off balance for a bit,” Fehr said. “I wish I would have seen him a little earlier, but it wasn’t really something I was expecting at that point.”
After he was hit in front of the Wild bench, Fehr tried to grab for the dasher with his hands but missed — smacking his head on top of the boards and then falling to the ice.
Agostino received a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct.
“If I could have just grabbed the dasher, I think things would have gone a lot better,” Fehr said. “So that’s what was going through my head, how close it was to being a nothing play. But just didn’t quite work out that way.”
Although he was vying to play before the Wild’s eight-day layoff, Fehr was happy to have the time to recuperate. He didn’t skate during the downtime, spending the lull in Florida, but he did work out more than he normally would have if he was playing before the break.
“I was able to really heal up,” he said, “and should be full systems go.”
After being idle the previous five games, veteran forward Matt Hendricks reappeared on the fourth line Friday to skate in his 600th career game.
“It means a lot,” Hendricks said. “It’s been a great career so far. A lot of people to thank. Had so much support and sacrifices from my family. I’ve been fortunate to play with some great teammates, great organizations, coaches, management that’s helped me stay in this league. I’m fortunate.”