Devan Dubnyk spent the preseason looking a lot like the goalie who made the All-Star team in January, and that's an encouraging sign for the Wild.
Dubnyk made 27 saves in Saturday night's 5-1 victory over Dallas at Xcel Energy Center, which capped a 5-2 preseason for Minnesota.
Dubnyk played three full exhibition games, going 3-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average.
"As much as it doesn't matter — the results don't matter in the preseason — it's always nice to have a good feeling going into next week," Dubnyk said.
He led the NHL in goals-against average when named to the All-Star team last season but faded in March after taking on a heavy workload. Dubnyk rebounded for the playoffs, posting a 1.86 GAA in a losing effort against the Blues.
On Saturday, the Wild rewarded him with plenty of offense. Eric Staal scored two goals, with Mikko Koivu, Charlie Coyle and Marcus Foligno adding one apiece. Coyle finished with three preseason goals, including the game-winner Thursday against St. Louis.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau kept hope alive Saturday that All-Star forward Zach Parise will be ready for Thursday's season opener at Detroit.
Limited during training camp with a back issue, Parise didn't play in any preseason games and hasn't skated with the team since Wednesday. But Boudreau outlined a potential Parise return plan before the Wild played its preseason finale against Dallas.
"I know he wants to practice Monday, and if he can practice three real good days with contact, I think he'd like to play on Thursday," Boudreau said.
Winnik can only watch
Boudreau scratched veteran forward Daniel Winnik on Saturday to give one last preseason look at youngsters Luke Kunin and Joel Eriksson Ek.
"I pulled [Winnik] aside and said, 'Danny, you've done great. I know exactly how you play. We just want to look at a couple of the young kids,'" Boudreau said.
Eriksson Ek and Kunin could go down to Iowa, but Winnik is on a professional tryout. To keep him, the Wild would need to try to fit him under the salary cap, and he made $2.25 million last season.
"It's known that we don't have a lot of money left, but if we want to sign a guy, we can sign a guy," Boudreau said.
Winnik, who played two seasons for Boudreau in Anaheim earlier in his career, understood the coach's lineup decision Saturday. In five preseason games, Winnik had one point (an assist) with 15 shots on goal and was a minus-1.
Fuss over faceoffs
With the NHL's stricter new faceoff rules, linesmen ejected Koivu from 10 faceoffs Thursday against St. Louis. The Wild submitted video of all 10 to the NHL and asked for clarification.
Boudreau and the team's centers met with linesmen Brandon Gawryletz and Brian Mach before Saturday's game.
"I don't think the players really know what the rules are right now," Koivu said before the meeting. "It's hard for the [linesmen] as well. So hopefully it's not going to be as bad as it's been, but all we can do is try to adjust to that and work on that and get better at it."
With the score tied 2-2 late in Thursday's 3-2 victory, Koivu and Mikael Granlund were both ejected from a faceoff. That triggered a seldom-called two-minute bench penalty, and Granlund went off the ice, negating a Wild power play.
"I don't think Granny did anything that wrong in that faceoff," Koivu said. "If [Charlie Coyle] doesn't score [with the teams at 4-on-4], we go into overtime. If that happens during the regular season, every point is big, and that can be the difference in the end."