While the Minnesota Wild remain longish shots to make the playoffs, they sure didn’t hurt their postseason chances by sweeping a three-game trip to Western Canada — a trip that included regulation wins over Calgary and Vancouver, arguably the two most vulnerable teams currently in a playoff position.
Sunday against the Canucks, the Wild were outshot 37-20 but managed a 4-2 victory thanks in large part to the play of goalie Devan Dubnyk, who’s been outstanding since joining the team in a trade with Arizona on Jan. 14.
“Confidence is one thing and a lot of credit has to go to (Dubnyk),” said Wild coach Mike Yeo.
And some of the credit has to go to GM Chuck Fletcher, who got the 28-year-old from the Coyotes for a third-round draft pick.
Among the 31 NHL goalies that have played the most this season, Dubnyk ranks eighth in five-on-five save percentage, right between Henrik Lundqvist and Tuukka Rask. Which isn’t terrible company to keep.
Whether Fletcher waited too long to make a move is a fair question to ask. By the time Dubnyk was acquired, the Wild had dropped 12 of 14 and fallen eight points out of a playoff spot. Today, after winning five of seven, the deficit has been cut to five points.
To give themselves a good chance at playing in the postseason, the Wild will need to go in the neighborhood of 19-11-3 in their final 33 games.
Not easy. But certainly doable.
Minnesota opens a three-game home stand tomorrow against Chicago (on NBCSN).