Wild turn to goaltender Filip Gustavsson on front end of back-to-back

DETROIT — Now that future hall of fame goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is back on his game, it seemed reasonable to think the Wild would ride the hot hand against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena.

Instead, they turned to backup goaltender Filip Gustavsson. Why?

“There’s some dimensions that went into it,” coach Dean Evason said. “We had the day off (on Friday) basically. We had an optional (practice), and Marc-Andre took the day off. There’s some rest in there, not only for him, for all the guys.”

It makes sense that the Wild are working to get Gustavsson back onto the ice. He is going to be an important piece this season.

That said, Gustavsson left a lot to be desired in his only other start this season on Oct. 17. Though he made 37 saves in a 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche a couple of weeks ago, he lacked consistency throughout the game.

For the Wild, the game against the Red Wings is the front end of a back-to-back, so there’s a very good chance Fleury is back between the pipes against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night at United Center.

Dubnyk retires

After stepping into the NHL Network studios earlier this week, the first time his done so this season, former Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk officially announced his retirement from the NHL.

He played 542 games across 12 seasons, but Dubnyk will forever be known for his time with the Wild. He saved the 2014-15 season after the Wild acquired him near the trade deadline.

That performance earned Dubnyk a new contract the following offseason, and he spent the better half of the next decade with the Wild.

He ranks second in franchise history in games played for a goaltender (328), second in games started for a goaltender (321), second in wins (177), tied for second in save percentage (.918), second in goals-against average (2.41) and second in shutouts (23). He ranks first in playoff games played (26) and first in playoff wins (8).

Familiar face

Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde made a name for himself as an lead assistant with the Tampa Bay Lightning during that team’s multiple Stanley Cup runs. That’s the biggest reason the Red Wings hired him this past offseason

Before that, though, Lalonde spent the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League. He spoke very highly of his time with the Wild organization before Saturday’s game.

Most of the players Lalonde coached during his time with the Wild have since moved on. There was some overlap, though, including center Joel Eriksson Ek, now an established player in the NHL, and winger Mason Shaw, who finally is getting his shot in the big leagues.

Briefly

Wild defenseman Dakota Mermis cleared waivers on Saturday and has been assigned to the Iowa Wild. He has been working his way back from a lower-body injury he suffered in training camp.

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