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Devan Dubnyk has been one of the NHL’s best goalies since joining the Wild

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Less than three years ago Devan Dubnyk‘s career seemed like it was pretty much finished. At least when it came to having any sort of career as a successful No. 1 in the NHL.

The Edmonton Oilers, the team that drafted him and gave him his first chance in the league, had given up on him after parts of four seasons where they never really gave him much of a chance to be an unquestioned full-time starter, or gave him much of a chance to play behind a decent NHL defense. Even so, he still managed to post better than league average numbers and was a rare bright spot on an otherwise dismal team.

But after a horrible start to the 2013-14 season the Oilers traded him to Nashville that started a one-year journey that saw him bounce from the Predators (two games), to Montreal (zero games) and then to Arizona (19 games).

It was not until January, 2015 that his career really started to take off when Arizona sent him to the Minnesota Wild for a third-round draft.

It was an entirely new beginning for both the Wild and Dubnyk.

At the time, the Wild were an underachieving team that was being completely sunk by a goaltending situation that had no real short-term or long-term solution. Dubnyk fixed all of that and not only put together a 27-9-3 run with a .929 save percentage down the stretch, he helped the Wild turn its season around enough to earn a playoff berth and advance to the second round, while Dubnyk himself finished third in the Vezina Trophy voting.

He has not really slowed down since, and entering play on Sunday afternoon against the Detroit Red Wings has to be one of the leading favorites to actually win the Vezina this season.

He will be the Minnesota focus for NBC’s Star Sunday broadcast.

Dubnyk’s performance this season speaks for itself as he currently leads the league in pretty much every meaningful category for goaltenders, including save percentage (.934), even-strength save percentage (.943), goals against average (1.96) and wins (30).

His five shutouts are tied for second in the league.

It is not a fluke performance, either.

Since joining the Wild on Jan. 14, 2015, this is where Dubnyk stands among all NHL goalies (minimum 40 games played).

  • His .927 overall save percentage is second in the NHL behind only Carey Price (.929)
  • his .935 even-strength save percentage is also second in the NHL behind … only Carey Price (.940).
  • His 15 shutouts are tied for first in the NHL with Braden Holtby.
  • He has averaged one shutout every 9.8 starts during that stretch. That is third behind only Price (7.7) and Holtby (9.6).
  • His 89 wins are second in the NHL behind only only Holtby (96).

It is a level of play that is right on par with Price and Holtby among the NHL’s elite.

After barely sneaking into the playoffs a year ago with a rather pedestrian 87 points whe Wild are rolling toward a Central Division crown and No. 1 seed in the Western Conference this season. There are a lot of people responsible for that turnaround, from new coach Bruce Boudreau who has helped the team’s forward talent shine offensively, to a huge bounce back season from Eric Staal after he was signed in free agency.

Dubnyk’s play in net is also right at the top of that list.

Who’s playing for Penguins, Senators in Game 7

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We finally know the lineups for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Pittsburgh’s tweaks are most interesting, which isn’t a huge surprising considering the consistent inconsistency bred by their injury issues.

The Penguins will get Conor Sheary and Justin Schultz back in the mix. Despite showing a lot of energy warming up, Patric Hornqvist isn’t good to go. Here are the full Penguins personnel notes; also realize that this is Matt Murray‘s birthday.

Ottawa places Chris Kelly back in, getting the nod over Tommy Wingels and Colin White. Kelly’s had some experience in these scenarios.

Sabres confirm signing defenseman Antipin; Is his KHL teammate Lee next?

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The Buffalo Sabres announced the signing of defenseman Victor Antipin* on Thursday, confirming rumors that surfaced more than once this month.

Antipin, 24, enjoyed a solid season in the KHL with Magnitogorsk Metallurg. Even so, the signing might be interesting if it serves as an appetizer for the Sabres bringing in Antipin’s teammate from Metallurg, Chris Lee.

On one hand, Lee is 36 and couldn’t make the jump fromt he AHL to the NHL in previous opportunities (most reently with the Penguins’ farm system in 2009-10). On the other, he had an eye-popping 2016-17 season in the KHL: 65 points in 60 games as a defenseman.

Lee’s previous numbers aren’t as outrageous, but still quite good, at least form a scoring standpoint.

While Lee’s possible addition is a situation to watch, there’s some excitement about Antipin.

“Victor is a well-rounded defenseman who has played in all situations at the pro level,” Sabres GM Jason Botterill said. “His mobility and puck-moving skills make him a perfect match for what we’re hoping to build with our defense corps next season.”

Granted, there’s some debate about his ceiling.

Still, for a Sabres team that badly needs help on the blueline, this addition – or eventually these additions – could provide a nice boost.

* – The Sabres’ releases feature his name spelled “Victor.” Other outlets, including hockeydb, have it as “Viktor.”

WATCH LIVE: Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Game 7

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Will it be the Ottawa Senators or Pittsburgh Penguins against the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final? We’ll find out after tonight.

Yes, it’s that time: a Game 7 to see who advances to the final round. The winner will also hold home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final.

Could Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, and the rest of the Senators pull off an upset on the road, winning the franchise’s first Game 7? Can Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins give Matt Murray a birthday present with another Game 7 win?

Find out on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

Here’s what you need to know:

Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (series tied 3-3)

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream live here)

Check out the highlights from Ottawa’s 2-1 win in Game 6

Related:

Pretty or not, Sens aim to play their game vs. Pens in Game 7

Penguins prepare for another Game 7, this time as favorites

Modern-day Senators have never won a Game 7

It’s “reasonable” to expect Schultz and Hornqvist will play Game 7

Trouble for Ducks: Lindholm and Vatanen need major shoulder surgeries, will miss months

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Not a great week for the Anaheim Ducks.

After being eliminated in Game 6 of the Western Conference final — the toughest loss of Ryan Kesler’s career, apparently — the Ducks broke more bad news on Friday as GM Bob Murray announced d-men Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen both require torn labrum surgery, and will be out an awfully long time.

The timeline on Lindholm is 4-5 months, while Vatanen’s recovery will extend beyond that because his injury was more serious.

Looking at the calendar, four months would run Lindholm up to the end of September, meaning he’d miss a good chunk of the preseason. If it’s five months, he could miss the first three weeks of the regular season.

Murray didn’t even put a timetable on Vatanen, only saying it would be longer.

This adds to what was already going to be a pretty stressful summer in Anaheim. As we wrote earlier, Murray has some big decisions on his hands.

Vatanen and Lindholm are huge parts of the team. Both averaged over 21 minutes per night this season, and both broke the 20-point plateau. They’re also locked in long term — Lindholm at $5.2 million annually through 2022, Vatanen at $4.8M through 2020.

If the Ducks decide to protect seven forwards and three defensemen for the expansion draft, the defense will definitely be worth watching. Lindholm will be protected for sure, and Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour are each exempt. But that only leaves two spots for Vatanen, Kevin Bieksa, Cam Fowler, and Josh Manson.

Bieksa, 35, has a no-movement clause, so unless the Ducks find a way to get around that, they’ll need to protect him. (Chances are, they’ll seek a way around it, either via trade or buyout or just convincing him to waive.)

Fowler, meanwhile, only has one year left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. There are already reports that extension negotiations are going well but, after the season he just had, with 39 points in 80 games, the 25-year-old won’t be cheap to re-sign.

Yes, there is the option to protect four defensemen and four forwards. But Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler all have NMCs, and the Ducks won’t want to expose Rickard Rakell or Jakob Silfverberg.

Add it all up, and the Ducks will certainly be worth watching this offseason.