When you go back and look at the numbers, Devan Dubnyk had a pretty solid five-game postseason. If you had told Wild fans that he would post a 1.86 goals against average and .925 save percentage, you would take your chances in the series.
But considering Dubnyk was vastly outplayed by Jake Allen, who posted a .956 save percentage in the series, it figured to be worth a look and see if there was a goal or two that Dubnyk could have stopped which in the end could have changed the fortunes of Minnesota in this series. Let’s check the video and see what we can find.
Game One – Blues 2, Wild 1 (OT)
Goal One – 6:27 of the second period (Vladimir Sobotka from Alex Steen)
Alex Steen intercepts a clearing attempt by Jonas Brodin off the faceoff and finds Vladimir Sobotka in the slot. Christian Folin gets a piece of the shot and very well might have blocked it altogether had he not lost an edge immediately after the turnover. The deflection turned the puck in another direction, and beats Dubnyk on the blocker side, as he was expecting it to go glove side.
Goal Two – 17:48 of overtime (Joel Edmundson from Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz)
Vladimir Tarasenko spins, getting Mikko Koivu all turned around, and drives to the net. Koivu and Jared Spurgeon close in on Tarasenko, with Dubnyk having him all squared up for a potential shot attempt. Tarasenko loses an edge as Koivu tries to get the puck off his stick, but the winger is able to slide a pass between Spurgeon and Mikael Granlund to the crashing Joel Edmundson. Dubnyk has no chance, Edmundson buries it into the gaping net for the overtime winner.
Game Two – Blues 2, Wild 1
Goal One – 3:51 of the second period (Joel Edmundson from Patrik Berglund and Magnus Paajarvi)
On a delayed penalty against the Wild, Edmundson and Berglund have a back and forth at the blue line before Edmundson one-times his second goal of the series past Dubnyk. Dubnyk appears to have gotten over in plenty of time to make the save, but it also appears he underestimated where he was in relation to the post on this shot. There does appear to be a slight deflection, but this is still a shot that Dubnyk would like back. Not a good goal to give up to open the scoring.
Goal Two – 17:33 of the third period (Jaden Schwartz from Alex Pietrangelo and Kyle Brodziak)
With 2:30 left in the third, it appeared that the game was destined for a second consecutive overtime. But with the Wild in the middle of a line change, the Blues make a charge and catch them off guard. Jaden Schwartz gets a pass in the neutral zone from Alex Pietrangelo and carries the puck into the offensive zone with David Perron driving down the middle. Schwartz slides over to the high slot area, and Wild defenseman Ryan Suter and Brodin try and both block his shot attempt (with Perron directly behind them ready to hammer home a potential rebound). Schwartz gets the shot off, and buries it in the top corner. This appears to be one that Dubnyk had trouble seeing, due to the defenseman in front of him, but that too is one he would like back, especially given how late in the game this was.
Game Three – Blues 3, Wild 1
Goal One – 3:25 of the first period (Colton Parayko from Patrik Berglund and David Perron)
The more you watch this, you just get more unsure of how this puck ends up in the net. At first, it looks like the shot just goes through Dubnyk. If you slow it down, you see the shot was deflected right away off Suter’s stick (as pointed out by Mike Milbury on the intermission report) and into the net. But when you continue to watch it over and over in slow motion, it appears that Dubnyk was expecting a low shot from Parayko, and just never reacted to the immediate deflection. It was the most criticized goal allowed by Dubnyk in the series, and given the Wild’s need to get on the board first in this game, it was not the best time to let in the first.
Goal Two – 15:19 of the second period (Jaden Schwartz from Alex Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko)
After a bad penalty by Ryan White, the Wild badly needed to kill off a penalty just moments after scoring the tying goal. First of all, please admire the cross-ice pass by Tarasenko (see here) to get it to Steen who was driving towards the goal. Not many will connect that pass (certainly no one on the Wild). Steen then goes on to make a quick wrap-around and puts a pass out front for Schwartz, who had the inside position on Scandella, and the puck gets shot home. Dubnyk almost gets the pad over to stop it, but it happened just a second too quick for him. The Blues tack on an empty net goal to seal the 3-1 win.
Game Four – Wild 2, Blues 0
The Wild were finally able to score first, and a sharp effort from Dubnyk gave him his second career playoff shutout.
Game Five – Blues 4, Wild 3 (OT)
Goal One – 7:16 of the first period (Vladimir Tarasenko from Jaden Schwartz)
Jason Zucker gives Tarasenko far too much space, and the Russian winger uses his feet to get by Zucker and Brodin. Dubnyk goes down as he appears to expect both defenders to at least get a stick on the puck, but that was not the case when Tarasenko comes out with the puck right in front of the net, he only needs to put the puck up top for the goal. Not a good start for the Wild defense, who had kept Tarasenko off the board before that point in the series.
Goal Two – 10:31 of the first period (Alexander Steen from Colton Parayko)
Parayko spins around at the wall and cuts towards the slot. He hits a streaking Steen, who fires one close to the faceoff dot. Dubnyk appears to have slid over to get a good look at this shot, but it still beats him to the blocker side. You have to give credit to Steen here, as he put the shot in the one area of the net Dubnyk wasn’t going to be able to cover. Also, this is a shot that you have to block if you’re Marco Scandella in a must win game.
Goal Three – 7:23 of the third period (Paul Stastny from Jaden Schwartz and Jori Lehtera)
This goal was a killer (or so we thought). Paul Stastny, who is below the goal line, is allowed to hammer home a goal over the shoulder of Dubnyk. You would really like to see a stop here, but when you give a guy like Stastny uncontested whacks at a loose puck, he’s going to bury it. Not sure what Dubnyk could have done more on this goal, as he was pretty far up against the post. This was the kind of goal lacking from the Wild in this series, and it was one that nearly sealed their fate.
Goal Four – 9:42 of overtime (Magnus Paajarvi from Vladimir Sobotka and Jori Lehtera)
This was broken down more here on Zone Coverage the day after Game 5. A series of defensive mishaps, allows Sobotka to center a pass to Paajarvi, and he buries home the winner. As you can see, Dubnyk gets a small piece of the shot, but it was not nearly enough to alter its course. Game over. Series over.
Looking back, one could come away with more frustration than anything when it comes to how Dubnyk played. Games two and three seem to have the most damming goals against him in this series (although noted goalie apologist Ben Remington might argue to Dubnyk’s defense on those goals), while others were due to defensive lapses, those goals were seemingly ones that he needed to stop and could have changed the outcome for the Wild in this series. Sure, nothing was getting by Jake Allen, but when you’re in a goalie duel like that, you need to make the easy saves. Now yes, Dubnyk did make some big saves in these games to give the Wild a chance to tie, but again, it circles back around to what if he had made a save on this goal or that goal to change the tide of a game, and maybe the series.