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Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk says he feels good; numbers suggest otherwise

Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk (40) makes a glove save on a shot by St. Louis Blues left wing Alexander Steen (not pictured) during the third period at Enterprise Center in St. Louis on Nov. 11, 2018. Jeff Curry / USA TODAY Sports

ST. PAUL -- Don’t tell goaltender Devan Dubnyk he’s struggling. Don’t show him the stats. Don’t show him the video. Don’t show him the results. He doesn’t care.

“It’s easy to make a story out of something when the stats aren’t there,” Dubnyk said on Friday. “That’s what (the media likes) to do. I don’t concern myself with what other people think I should’ve stopped.”

Whether Dubnyk, 32, wants to acknowledge it or not, he has struggled over the past couple of weeks.

While a small sample size, and not necessarily indicative of how the rest of the season will play out, it’s impossible to overlook: Dubnyk hasn’t look like the same goaltender he was in the opening month of the season, when he was 8-3-2 with a 2.13 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.

Since that red-hot start, Dubnyk has a 1-4-0 record in six starts — that includes a no-decision after being pulled last week against the Ottawa Senators — with a 3.80 GAA and .861 save percentage.

“I felt good last game,” Dubnyk said of Thursday’s 4-2 loss at Columbus. “I’m comfortable with myself and my game.”

As for the previous two games, Dubnyk called the 4-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes a “throw away” game and said he felt “in control” last week against the Senators before being pulled in favor of Alex Stalock.

“Bruce (Boudreau) made a decision to get me out of there,” Dubnyk said. “Like I said, I don’t ever want to come out. It worked and we won the game. That’s the way it is.”

Boudreau said the slump is nothing but a minor blip on the radar.

“I don’t think I’ve had to change anything,” the coach said. “He’s our No. 1 goalie. He’s our go-to guy. He’s our guy that we’re counting on. We just need him to be as good as he can possibly be.”

“He’s got a lot of pride,” Boudreau added. “He wants to get back. He’s seen himself as one of the best in the league. He’s just having a little rough spot, like the rest of the guys are now.”

Asked whether he talks to Dubnyk directly during these rough spots, Boudreau said he leaves most of the chatting to goalie coach Bob Mason.

“I do have a meeting with (Dubnyk) today,” Boudreau said. “That doesn’t happen too often.”

No matter how that meeting goes, Dubnyk made it clear he won’t change the way he approaches games.

“I always feel in control of the game,” he said. “If there’s seven pucks in the net, I don’t feel like that means another one is going to go in. I feel like I can stand there and play. You’ve got to do that and battle. There’s 82 games, and not all of them are going to go perfectly. You’ve just got to work.”

It’s unclear whether Boudreau plans to go with Dubnyk or Stalock during Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Xcel Energy Center, but he might have tipped his hand.

“It’s a tremendous challenge playing maybe the best team in the league,” he said. “It’s probably the most potent offense we’re going to see for awhile. It’s a great challenge. It’s something where the good players and the good teams embrace the challenge rather than fear the challenge.”

Sounds like a perfect chance for atonement.

Robb Jeffries

Robb Jeffries is a news coordinator for Forum News Service. He is a graduate of the University of North Dakota and previously served as a reporter and copy editor for the Grand Forks Herald. Reach him at rjeffries@forumcomm.com and follow him on Twitter at @robbjeffries.