EDMONTON, ALBERTA – Devan Dubnyk loves that his statistics have been mentioned in the same breath as NHL standard-bearer Carey Price, but the Wild goalie stops anybody short who wants to compare the two any further.
That’s how much Dubnyk admires the Montreal Canadiens star.
“I think any goalie in the league would say he’s the guy we all look up to,” Dubnyk said.
On Price’s mantle are gold medals for the 2007 world junior championships, the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2016 World Cup. There’s a Canadian Hockey League Goalie of the Year award, a Calder Cup (American Hockey League championship) and an AHL playoff MVP trophy. There’s a Jennings Trophy (lowest goals-against average in the NHL), a Vezina Trophy (Best NHL goalie), a Hart Trophy (MVP) and a Ted Lindsay Award (MVP, voted by the players).
“What makes him the best is his combination of his efficiency, his skating, his calmness along with his ability to be spectacular when he needs it,” Dubnyk said. “The thing I love to watch about him is he’s only spectacular when he needs it. He makes everything look so easy, but then if he needs to do a back flip out there, he’s capable of doing it.
“He’s done it all, too. That’s part of it, too. He’s the best because he’s consistently doing it every single year. It’s impressive.”
Dubnyk, 30, is actually a hair better statistically than Price, 29 … this season. Before Sunday’s game against the Oilers, Dubnyk led all NHL goalies in shutouts (four) and was second behind Price in save percentage (.945) and Boston’s Tuukka Rask in goals-against average (1.67). Price ranked third with a 1.71 goals-against average.
However, Price, who won his first 10 games, had four more wins than Dubnyk’s nine (tied for 14th in the NHL) in large part because the Wild’s offense has dried up since scoring 32 goals in the first nine games.
Before Sunday’s game, since Nov. 1, Dubnyk had given up 20 goals in 11 games, yet his record in that span was 4-5-2.
In Dubnyk’s six regulation losses this season, he allowed 13 goals yet got seven goals of support. In his three overtime/shootout losses, he had given up seven goals yet got six goals of support.
“Anytime you’re brought up in a conversation with somebody that’s widely considered the best goalie in the world, it’s a good thing,” Dubnyk said of Price. “But what makes him special is he does it every single day. So I have to keep working and try to keep having it mentioned up there.
“For myself especially, the less it looks like I’m doing out there, the better job I’m probably doing. That’s how I built my game. It’s important for me to be in control out there.”
After two tough games in a row, Zach Parise said coach Bruce Boudreau’s video session with the top line (Parise-Eric Staal-Charlie Coyle) Saturday was productive.
“It’s easy to leave a game and be mad and frustrated, but I think it was good for us to look at it and see the reasons, ‘Why don’t we have the puck? Why are we not getting the puck back? Why aren’t we getting any scoring chances?’ ” Parise said before Sunday’s game.
“It’s not as if we just [stink] all of a sudden. There’s reasons behind things.
“It’s a quick fix. It’s not you forget how to play. Us as a line, we have to rely on each other and expect the other guy to do their job.”
However, by the start of the second period Sunday, Nino Niederreiter was moved onto the line and Parise skated with Erik Haula and Jason Pominville.
• GM Chuck Fletcher says center Zac Dalpe, who has missed 15 games after knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, is rehabbing well in Minnesota. If his skating sessions go well this week, Dalpe could rejoin practice once the Wild returns from the road trip. Dalpe would need to clear waivers if the Wild ever planned to send him to Iowa.