The Minnesota Wild acquired goalie Devan Dubnyk from Arizona in mid-January, and they’re probably really glad they did.
The Wild (27-20-7) are 9-3 ever since and have won seven of eight to move to within two points of Calgary (30-22-3) for a playoff spot.
Dubnyk, 28, was solid again Thursday, recording 26 saves and leading Minnesota to a 2-1 home win over Florida. The guy has just been unreal.
“Yeah, he has,” Wild right wing Jason Pominville said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “He’s been really good for us. I think everyone’s excited for him and happy for him. He’s come in and stepped in really well. I think you can tell we’re confident in playing in front of him. He finds a way to make the saves at key times to keep us in games and finds a way to win on a nightly basis. So it’s been a pleasure having him behind us for sure.”
Dubnyk is the fourth Wild goalie – along with Darcy Kuemper, Niklas Backstrom and John Curry – to spend time in the crease this season.
“Obviously we’ve had injuries and goalies were hurt and goalies had surgeries, so it’s never easy to come back from that,” Pominville said. “We were going through a little bit of a tough stretch, and (general manager) Chuck (Fletcher) decided to make a move to try to help us in that position. So far, it’s paid off, so hopefully we can keep it going. But I think having that depth in goal is definitely going to help us for the run here.”
Pominville, to his credit, gave the Wild a 1-0 lead with a first-period goal Thursday.
“It started with a good breakout,” Pominville said. “We were able to generate speed and get a rush opportunity and Mikko (Koivu) made a good play. I drove the net and it ends up finding me, hitting my foot and going in. So we’ll definitely take that.”
Zach Parise added a power-play goal for the Wild in the second period to make it 2-0.
“I think we were able to move the puck around on our power play pretty good tonight and use the back of the net,” Pominville said. “Mikko finds Thomas (Vanek), who tries to hit Zach, and the puck just kind of laid there and Zach is so good at finding pucks in that area. He was able to find one tonight and put one away, so it was a big goal at a big time, and it helped us win a game.”
Minnesota looks nothing like the team that lost 12 of 14 from mid-December to mid-January, but Pominville knows there’s still a long way to go.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Pominville said. “We’ve dug ourselves in a hole, but I think this streak has put us right back into the mix. (We’re) just trying to establish ourselves as a tougher team to play against at home. I think that’s been better lately. And if we go on the road, (pulling out) some road wins would help us along the way. And obviously when you play those teams you’re trying to catch, finding a way to beat those teams always helps as well.
“But there’s a lot of games left,” Pominville continued. “We can’t be looking at what other teams are doing every night. We got to focus on what we have to do and do our part, and the rest will take care of itself.”