If the Wild are going to make the playoffs, which head coach Bruce Boudreau guaranteed they will, they're going to need better goaltending than what Devan Dubnyk provided in Friday night's 5-4 overtime loss to the Devils.
Minnesota led 4-1 in the second period and took a 4-2 lead into the third before the Devils stormed back and tied the score 4-4 on Ben Lovejoy's goal with 2:45 remaining.
The overtime winner came after Dubnyk misplayed a puck by trying to backhand it off the end wall to Zach Parise, who instead was looking to defend in front of the goal. The Devils stole the puck and Nico Hischier stuffed home the winning goal with ease.
"I thought if I threw it up the boards they’d be coming back right away. I put it behind the net. I was thinking Zach was going to go there. Obviously their guy got a jump on it, and obviously kind of put Zach in a bad spot there," Dubnyk admitted after the game.
But it was more than a bad mistake in overtime. Dubnyk gave up a pair of other soft goals, including the tying score by Lovejoy late in the third that deflected off Luke Kunin's skate an found its way between his legs.
Dubnyk has allowed 10 goals in the past two games, both at home where the Wild have blown big leads. He's 1-4-2 in seven games since representing the Wild in the All-Star Game and even worse, he owns a bloated 3.26 goals-against average in that span.
Asked about making a change in net after the game, Boudreau said:
“It’ll be a conversation that the coaches and the goalie coach have tomorrow and the GM and we’ll see what transpires. There’s a couple things. One, we’re not blind. We saw how they went in, but the other thing that bothers me is we do this all the time. We get them down and you don’t get that killer instinct and you stop playing and you try to defend all the time and it’s a losing way to play."
Killer instinct or not, the Wild should be able to win home games when they have an All-Star in goal and a two- or- three-goal lead. The fact that Dubnyk is as shaky as he is could mean Alex Stalock gets a chance to rally the Wild, possibly beginning as soon as Sunday on national TV against the red-hot St. Louis Blues.