It’s been a rough month of March for Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk — he has just two wins over 10 appearances, while posting an unsightly .899 save percentage.
Not that he’s worried about getting out of this funk.
“I’ve been through much worse than this,” Dubnyk said on Tuesday, per the Pioneer Press. “I’ve got no problems about getting out of it.”
Dubnyk’s slump has, not surprisingly, coincided with a rough stretch for the Wild. After ending February with a 6-5 win over Winnipeg — pushing their record to 41-14-6 in the process — the club looked to be in control of the Central Division.
But things changed.
Minnesota is 2-8-0 in its last 10, and heads into tonight’s game against San Jose seven points back of Chicago for tops in the Central. It’s unfair to pin that skid entirely on Dubnyk, as a myriad of factors have played a role: Zach Parise and Jason Pominville got the mumps, key deadline pickup Martin Hanzal was sidelined with illness (unrelated to the mumps) and the club’s defensive depth was whittled away with injuries to Christian Folin and Mathew Dumba.
Still, there’s a ton of focus on Dubnyk.
Part of that comes from the incredibly high standard he’s set this year. He’s considered by many a lock for one the three Vezina finalist spots — if not the outright favorite to win — and has been floated as a potential Hart Trophy candidate as well. Even with this recent slump, his numbers on the year are still terrific, as he sits tied for third in the league in wins (36), fourth in save percentage (.927) and fifth in GAA (2.18).
As mentioned above, this isn’t the roughest patch of his career.
It’s almost easy to forget that, three years ago, Dubnyk was toiling with Montreal’s AHL affiliate after unsuccessful stints in Edmonton and Nashville. It was certainly a low point for the former first-round pick but, to his credit, he revived his career with aplomb and is now considered one of the NHL’s best.
Still, both Dubnyk and the Wild know they need to turn things around, and in a hurry. There are just 11 games left in the regular season, more than enough time to rediscover good form.
That’ll be important, since the postseason hasn’t been especially successful. Dubnyk has just six wins from 16 playoff games over the last two seasons, posting an .896 save percentage and 2.84 GAA.