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Stalock leaves road trip for birth of second child

Minnesota Wild goalie Alex Stalock against the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Oct. 31, 2017. Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO — Wild starting goaltender Devan Dubnyk woke up on Wednesday morning, Nov. 8, to a text from backup goaltender Alex Stalock.

"I thought it was a little strange that he was texting me first thing," Dubnyk said with a laugh. "I saw him last night, so I didn't know why he wanted to talk so early. And then I opened it up."

Stalock, a South St. Paul, Minn., native, was alerting Dubnyk that he had returned home to be with his wife, Felicia, for the birth of the couple's second child. He was already back in the Twin Cities by the time Dubnyk woke up and rolled out of bed in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto.

"It's exciting for him," Dubnyk said. "He's going to be there. It's obviously an extremely important day."

That said, it has created a little drama in the hours leading up to tonight's game against the Maple Leafs. Stalock was originally scheduled to start.

"It's good drama as long as everybody is healthy when he gets home," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "... I hope Duby's ready."

Sitting in the visitor's locker room at the Air Canada Centre. Dubnyk said nothing about his typical game-day routine had changed. "It'd be different if I woke up from a nap this afternoon and things had changed," he said. "It wasn't really much of a knuckleball."

Dubnyk is 4-5-1 with a 3.03 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.

"Stats-wise, it's obviously not where I want to be," Dubnyk said. "When I sit back and analyze how I feel in the net, though, and how I'm moving around, I'm pretty comfortable with that. It's just a few things here and there sharpening up on a couple plays. I feel good. I'm just going to continue to push to get to another level."

The Wild recalled goaltender Niklas Svedberg to serve as the backup goaltender. He is 3-6-1 with with a 2.84 GAA and .904 save percentage in 10 games with Iowa. He will more than likely finish the road trip with the Wild.

Luck breaks

After escaping stars Brad Marchand (upper body) and David Backes (diverticulitis) in Monday's game against the Boston Bruins, the Wild caught another break as Auston Matthews (upper body) was ruled out for Wednesday's game.

Asked how that changes his game plan, Boudreau responded, "Well, I'll wait until 7:30, and if I don't see him on the ice, I'll adjust then."

Briefly

After finishing practice Tuesday, Boudreau rushed out to spend time with his 84-year-old mother, Theresa, who also happens to be his biggest critic. "She was fine," Boudreau said when asked about the visit. "She knew I wasn't feeling too good so she laid low. She didn't pour it on too much."

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.

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