Wild’s attempted comeback ends with ‘disheartening’ shootout loss


The Minnesota Wild experienced a brief reprieve from their recent losing ways, but after a modest streak of back-to-back wins against Buffalo and Arizona, has since reverted back into the loss column.

They didn’t quit or give up on Tuesday.

The Wild looked as good as done when they began the third period trailing the Detroit Red Wings by a three-goal deficit. Instead, Minnesota attempted a comeback, only to see it fall just short of completion in a 5-4 shootout loss. It’s a single point for the Wild, if that’s any consolation.

Zach Parise scored twice in the final period, including the tying goal with less than seven minutes remaining. But Detroit quickly ended the shootout, scoring on their only two attempts on Darcy Kuemper, who entered the game in the second period for the pulled Devan Dubnyk.

“It’s disheartening but I give a lot of guys credit to stay positive,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said, as per the Pioneer Press.

“Disappointing not to get the second point. I felt like we really deserved it. We could have had zero points the way that game had gone. So it might end up being a huge point for us.”

Minnesota enters the All-Star breaking having won only three of 11 games so far this month.

Wild activate Kuemper, giving them three healthy goalies


Darcy Kuemper isn’t part of the Wild’s lineup tonight, but not because of his lower-body injury. He was activated prior to the start of Minnesota’s game against Columbus, per the Pioneer Press’ Chad Graff.

That leaves the Wild with three healthy goaltenders, including Niklas Backstrom and the recently acquired Devan Dubnyk. Minnesota got Dubnyk because it wasn’t happy with the performance of its other goaltenders and he’s paid off early by turning aside 44 of 45 shots over two contests.

Dubnyk might be able to establish himself as the team’s starting goaltender, although Kuemper will likely get opportunities to reclaim that role. Kuemper’s first chance might come on Tuesday against Detroit. Meanwhile Backstrom, who is signed through 2015-16, is in danger of being further marginalized given his 3.04 GAA and .887 save percentage this season.

Having three active goaltenders is rarely ideal, but as coach Mike Yeo pointed out, this is nothing new for Minnesota.

“I think we were able to manage it fairly well [last season], and that’s going to be important again this year,” Yeo told the Star Tribune.

Wild will just ‘deal with’ their ‘tricky’ three-goalie scenario


The Minnesota Wild — like the Calgary Flames — have three goalies on their active roster. And the St. Louis Blues soon may too, depending what Martin Brodeur decides.

While teams don’t generally like to carry three netminders, sometimes they just have to. In the Wild’s case, all they can do after Devan Dubnyk joined the team from Arizona is make the best of it.

“It’s an ongoing, day-by-day thing we’ll have to deal with,’’ coach Mike Yeo said, per the Star Tribune. “I think we were able to manage it fairly well [last season], and that’s going to be important again this year.

“It’s a little bit tricky in that you have to make sure the person who’s starting is getting the workload and preparation they need. And in a lot of ways, how you deal with the other two guys is going to be equally as important as far as their emotional state, making sure they’re ready in case they need to be called upon, and also making sure they’re getting the proper amount of work.”

As noted prior to the Dubnyk trade, the Wild’s two other goalies, Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom, would both require waivers in order to be sent to the AHL. The problem with the former is that he might get picked up. And while the latter would certainly not, he apparently has a no-move clause that makes it possible for him to block a demotion to Iowa.

Minnesota is a perfect 2-0-0 with Dubnyk between the pipes. While he admits, “I think you’d be lying if anybody said three goalies was good,” it sure beats losing with two goalies.

Dubnyk to start for Wild against Sabres — can he help save Minnesota’s season?


Time will tell how this story ends, but beginning tonight in Buffalo when Devan Dubnyk starts in goal for the Minnesota Wild, there’s at least the potential for a pretty good tale of redemption.

Dubnyk, who struggled so badly at the beginning of last season in Edmonton, was traded yesterday to the Wild from Arizona. Minnesota, the NHL’s most disappointing team of the 2014-15 campaign, was in dire need of better goaltending, and it’s hoping Dubnyk can provide far better than what Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom have managed.

To make the playoffs, the Wild will need to go in the neighborhood of 24-12-4 in their final 40 games. Unlikely? Yes. But not impossible.

Dubnyk went 9-5-2 with a .916 save percentage in Arizona. Five on five, his save percentage is among the highest in the league. While the Wild will need to be better in all areas, not just goaltending, GM Chuck Fletcher is hoping that the 28-year-old can provide some stability between the pipes.

“I don’t think it’s any secret we have bigger expectations for our goaltending than what they’ve provided for us this season,” Fletcher said, per the Star Tribune. “We were looking to add a goaltender that’s capable of winning games and pushing the other two as well.

“I thought it was time for me to give this team a shot in the arm and we’ll keep trying. We’ll see if we can add more pieces. If we can do it, great, but it has to come from the inside, too, and maybe this is a spark they need to get going.”

After last season, Dubnyk didn’t even know if he’d be in the NHL in 2014-15. Now he’s being asked to “spark” a team that’s lost six in a row and 12 of its last 14.

“Right now we’re in a perilous position for our season and we have to win some games,” Fletcher said. “We’re capable of doing it. But we have to stabilize here. We’ve got to get going. We’re better than this. It’s time. It’s more than time.”

Trade: Wild get Dubnyk from Coyotes


The Minnesota Wild have acquired goalie Devan Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2015 third-round draft pick.

Dubnyk is 9-5-2 with a .916 save percentage this season. The 28-year-old seems to have regained his form after struggling badly last season with Edmonton and Nashville.

The Wild have lost six in a row and 12 of their last 14. For most of the season they’ve received below-average goaltending from Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom. Hence, today’s trade.

Dubnyk is a pending unrestricted free agent with a cap hit of $800,000.

The Wild are in Buffalo to play the Sabres tomorrow.

Related: Should a team roll the dice on Dubnyk?