Dubnyk shines in start, Wild beat Wings

Published 9:26 am Tuesday, December 29, 2015

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk had pain shooting up his arm during the morning skate, the result of a cut requiring stitches sustained the day before.

He was supposed to sit Monday night, but when Darcy Kuemper was a late scratch because of an upper-body injury, Dubnyk suited up.

The workhorse netminder made 28 saves, Mikko Koivu scored twice and the Wild beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 on Monday night.

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“When you get an opportunity to play as many games as (coach Mike Yeo has) allowed me to play over the last little while, it’s easy to just get into game-day routine,” Dubnyk said. “Nothing really changes. It’s not a big deal. It didn’t feel real good this morning, but it felt a lot better tonight than I expected it to.”

Charlie Coyle scored for the third time in four games for Minnesota. Koivu scored a power-play goal in the third and added an empty-net tally for the Wild, which had lost three of four.

Detroit couldn’t solve Dubnyk until Pavel Datsyuk scored his fourth goal of the season with just over 2 minutes remaining. Petr Mrazek made 32 saves for the Red Wings.

Dubnyk suffered a cut on his arm by a shot in practice Sunday and had to have stitches. But Kuemper was announced out about an hour before the game, making Dubnyk the healthiest option among Minnesota’s top two goaltenders.

When he took the ice for the morning skate, Dubnyk wasn’t sure he’d be available because of what he called “nerve pain.” He struggled to even get his hand in his blocker but said the needlework loosened up as the day went on.

“I think the stitches might have just needed to stretch out a little bit because this morning, every single play that I moved or something pushed against it, it was kind of shooting up my elbow and into my shoulder,” Dubnyk said. “It’s kind of a shock, like it catches you off.”

Dubnyk has been Minnesota’s stalwart in net, but Kuemper filled in when Dubnyk was hurt earlier in the month and posted a 4-0-3 record in the month with a 1.26 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.

Dubnyk is 4-3-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in December.

“I think the way you show that you have character, you step in even if you’re not probably 100 percent,” Koivu said.

Detroit coach Jeff Blashill lamented not making the game tougher for Dubnyk.

“Not to take anything away from him, I thought he played good, but we didn’t make it hard on him at all,” Blashill said. “But it’s hard to make it hard when you turn pucks over, so you just have no speed at all, nothing generated. We were standing still because we kept turning it over. When we did get opportunities in the zone, we overpassed.”

Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek finished with 32 saves.

NOTES: Detroit F Dylan Larkin made his return after missing one game with a lower-body injury. Larkin leads all rookies with 13 goals this season. D Jonathan Ericsson has returned to practice but was scratched for the fourth straight game with an upper-body injury. … Wild F Justin Fontaine was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. He has one goal and three assists in 13 games since returning from a knee injury. … Detroit plays the second game of a back-to-back on Tuesday night at Winnipeg. Jimmy Howard is expected to start in goal.