Devan Dubnyk's stretch of perfection is helping the Wild get back on track
The veteran Minnesota goaltender has recorded three consecutive shutouts
Where were you the last time Devan Dubnyk surrendered a goal?
It's a question that's getting increasingly difficult to answer, as the Minnesota Wild goaltender is currently working on an incredible shutout streak that has eclipsed the previous franchise record, held by ... Devan Dubnyk.
Dubnyk has recorded three straight shutouts -- the latest coming on Tuesday night at home against the Flyers -- and has stopped 103 shots in the process. It's been 195 minutes and five seconds of ice time since the Wild goalie has let a puck past him -- the last of three against the Maple Leafs last Wednesday.
The streak began with a 41-save outing against the Canadiens in Montreal last Thursday, then continued with a 32-save showing against the Flyers in Philly on Saturday, then 30 more stops against the Flyers again on Tuesday. The latter may have been his best performance yet, as almost a third of those chances came from high-danger areas.
The 31-year-old's string of excellent play has been a blessing for both the goaltender and his team. It comes following an initial 11-game stretch to start the season in which Dubnyk posted a very mediocre .903 save percentage as the Wild went 4-6-1. (The last three games have catapulted Dubnyk's save percentage to .926 as Minnesota has gone 3-0-0...obviously.)
After a strong regular season last year in which they finished with 106 points (good for a second-place finish in the division), expectations for the Wild were high coming into this season. It's been a disappointing start so far, but Dubnyk elevating his play is a major component for that team to get back on track as a contender in the West.
Obviously, he can't be expected to shut out opponents on a nightly basis, but if this streak can help him shed his early season struggles and return to the form that made him a Vezina candidate last season, the Wild will have a much stronger chance at seeing similar success. In fact, a win against the Predators at home on Thursday night would mean that the Wild have the same record through 18 games (9-7-2) as they did last season.
But, for what it's worth, Dubnyk still has a ways to go if he's hoping for a historic streak beyond the team level. Brian Boucher holds the NHL record for longest shutout streak at 332:01, so Dubnyk will need about seven more additional periods of perfection between the pipes if he wants that crown.
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