"If he was in Toronto, there would be no Carey Price."
That was Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, speaking about his #1 netminder, Devan Dubnyk, after the Wild's game in Toronto earlier this week. But, while Dubnyk has been great for the most part this season, it hasn't been all good for him.
Much has been made of Dubnyk's strong play so far this season - and with good reason. He has been sharp. He has largely erased the fluky goals and mild temper tantrums that plagued him last season. He has been excellent down low, on his posts, and moving laterally. Juicy rebounds off him have been rare. He has thrived under a fairly heavy workload.
And his statistics largely bear that out.
Among goalies with at least 10 GP, he ranks first in save percentage (.946), first in goals against average (1.66), first in shutouts (4), and 2nd in goals-against/game (1.67). Only Jimmy Howard (13 GP) has bested Dubnyk in any of those statistics, putting up a stellar 1.46 goals-against/game.
While those statistical rankings may be enough to give Dubnyk claim on the hottest goalie in the league, this season-to-date, there is one stat where Dubnyk doesn't stack up: he ranks 8th among those top 10 goalies with 10 or more GP in goals-for/game. Only Corey Crawford (2.65) and the aforementioned Howard (1.85) receive less run support from their respective teams than Dubnyk does from the Wild (2.71).
Think about that, Dubnyk hasn't just been playing well. He's been playing well despite an extremely-thin margin for error, given the Wild's near-pathological inability to put the biscuit in the basket.
For comparison, Crawford has played in 20 games to Dubnyk's 21. Crawford has faced 614 shots to Dubnyk's 643. To account for Dubnyk's extra game appearance, if you take the average number of shots Crawford has faced per game (30.7) and multiply that by 21, you get 644, which is one more than Dubnyk's 643 - so they've faced the same number of shots. In other words: statistically similar bodies of work. And, again, they both have received basically the same amount of goal support (Duby 2.71 vs. Crawford 2.65).
But Duby has a 0.946 save percentage, while Crawford has a 0.927. And Duby has a 1.66 goals against average, while Crawford has a 2.27.
Goalies rely on mental toughness and fortitude. It's hard enough to face Connor McDavid every third or fourth shift, without also having to worry that one goal against could mean a loss because your team struggles so mightily to score.
Given this, what Dubnyk is doing this season is truly magnificent. It stretches credibility to think he could keep it up for the balance of the regular season. So let's just enjoy it while we can, and hope that, when he does finally come back to earth, the fellas can start finding the back of the other guy's net with some consistency.
Oh yeah, as for Mr. Price up in Montreal, 3rd in save percentage (0.940), 4th in goals against average (1.83), and 4th in goals-for/game (3.21). The Habs score half a goal more per game for him than the Wild does for Dubnyk. Looks like Bruce is on to something.
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