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‘Yotes Notes: Former Coyote Dubnyk crafting a Vezina worthy season

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

The only thing former Coyote Devan Dubnyk could do to strengthen his case for the Vezina Trophy is play in Canada. The Minnesota Wild goaltender is facing a Carey Price bias that doesn’t stand up to examination.

Dubnyk leads the NHL in save percentage at .947 (Montreal’s Price is third at .940), he leads the NHL in goals against average at 1.62 (Price is third at 1.80), he leads the NHL in 5-on-5 save percentage at .956 (Price is third at .954) and he is third in minutes (1,447:50) to Edmonton’s Cam Talbot and San Jose’s Martin Jones (Price is 16th).

“If he was in Toronto, there would be no Carey Price,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Look, he’s been doing it against every team he’s played. It seems like he gets into that zone there and says nothing else is going to beat him.”

Dubnyk appeared in 19 games of the 2014-15 season for Arizona before GM Don Maloney traded him to the Wild for a third-round pick. The Coyotes won’t face Dubnyk when they close out a four-game road trip (2-1 to date) with a matinee against the Wild on Saturday at Xcel Enregy Center in St Paul. Darcy Kuemper is expected to start in goal, but the Coyotes have their own goaltending magic working. Mike Smith has made 40 or more saves in five of his last 10 starts and since returning from a left leg injury in mid-November, Smith has stopped 477 of 510 shots for a .935 save percentage.

HAPPY HOMECOMING

Everybody was talking about Auston Matthews on Thursday, even if there were no new stories to tell. With the Scottsdale product and Maple Leafs center facing the team for which he grew up rooting for the first time, it made for a perfect if predictable script.

Peter Holland had other thoughts. The Toronto product came to the Coyotes in a trade last week and got a quick chance to play his former team — a team he also grew up idolizing. Holland didn’t waste the chance. He scored the only goal of the shootout as the Coyotes beat the Leafs, 3-2.

“You can’t really script it much better than that, to get the game-winner,” Holland said. “I love that moment. As soon as I touched the puck all the boo birds went away. It was pretty cool.”

After the game, right wing Jamie McGinn presented Holland with the game belt.

LOOSE PUCKS

— Shane Doan still needs one goal for career No. 400 but he came awfully close to getting it in Toronto. Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen stopped Doan on a third-period breakaway with a nifty glove save that had Doan looking skyward.

— The Coyotes are 11-1-1 in their last 13 games against the Maple Leafs and have not lost in regulation in Toronto since 2002.

— Defenseman Connor Murphy rejoined the team in Toronto after a two-game absence due to an upper-body injury. He did not play but is a possibility in Minnesota.

— Less than two years after assuming Phil Falcone’s minority stake of the Wild, Matt Hulsizer is officially out, a source told The Star Tribune. Majority owner Craig Leipold bought Hulsizer’s 27 percent share of the team. Leipold said the decision to buy out Hulsizer was driven by the Chicago businessman’s desire to be more involved in hockey decisions and to eventually own a larger chunk of the franchise.

Hulsizer was one of the many suitors who tried to buy the Coyotes before IceArizona closed the deal in 2013.

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Coyotes at Wild

When: Noon, Saturday

Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul

TV: FOX Sports Arizona Plus

Radio: KTAR News 92.3 FM

Records: Coyotes 11-14-5. Wild 17-8-4.

Injury report: Coyotes — C Brad Richardson (broken right tibia and fibula) and LW Max Domi (hand) are out indefinitely. Wild — C Zac Dalpe (knee) is out.

Scouting the Wild: If you needed more proof that coach Bruce Boudreau can succeed wherever he goes, Minnesota sat second in the Western Conference (and Central Division) with 38 points, entering play Friday under their first-year coach, who was fired in Anaheim after last season’s first-round playoff exit. … Offseason free-agent acquisition Eric Staal is having a nice renaissance year. Staal, who led Carolina to the 2006 Stanley Cup, leads the Wild with nine goals and 22 points. … Minnesota has allowed a Western Conference-low 59 goals.

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