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Preseason all about prep for Dubnyk

Minnesota center Kyle Rau (37) slams Dallas defenseman Miro Heiskanen against the glass in the first period of a NHL game at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)1 / 2
Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon (46) fires a shot towards the boards as Dallas defenseman Dillon Hetherington (48) tries to cut him off in the first period of a NHL game at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)2 / 2

ST. PAUL—Devan Dubnyk entered Thursday's preseason game against the Dallas Stars more concerned with the journey than the destination.

"I'm excited to get in there and play a game," Dubnyk said after Thursday's morning skate. "I don't concern myself with the outcomes or anything like that. I know the things I want to work on and the things I need to get sharp on for the start of the regular season. I know the only way to do that is in games."

Dubnyk, 32, was nervous for preseason games early in his career because there was always pressure to perform. Before finding his way with the Wild midway through the 2014-15 season, Dubnyk was a fringe goaltender in the league, meaning preseason games often served as an extended tryout.

"Now it's fun to get back into it," said Dubnyk, locked into a six-year, $26 million contract and the unquestioned man between the pipes for the Wild. "It's nice to be in this situation."

Dubnyk lobbied coach Bruce Boudreau to play the entire game Thursday, and that was the plan going into the 7 p.m. puck drop at Xcel Energy Center.

"There's really only three opportunities (in the preseason) to play, so it's good to get in there the entire time," Dubnyk said. "There are lots of different challenges in games, and it's important to get into the mental grind of a game and making sure I'm getting back into having that focus for 60 minutes and not just half the game, or whatever."

Dubnyk said the biggest adjustment from summer workouts to actual games is tracking the puck at full speed.

"In the summer, guys don't really shoot through guys, and nobody is teeing up point shots and hammering it," he said. "Those are the things that are the most foreign when I get back into a real game. I just have to make sure I don't lose track of the puck. It's always a battle to make sure I have my eyes on the puck no matter what."

Asked if he was looking for anything in particular from Dubnyk, Boudreau quipped, "I just want him to stop a lot of pucks."

"We just want to make sure he's coming along and he's feeling good," the coach added. "He has had a good training camp so far, so we want to continue this."

Dubnyk finished last season 35-16-7 with a 2.52 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. No doubt he'd like to win even more games this season, though that's not on the forefront of his mind right now.

"I always want to go out there and win," Dubnyk said. "That said, for me, I think it's better to focus on doing the right things because I know if I do that, then the results should be there anyway."

On the mend

After struggling through injury-marred campaigns last season, Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise are all 100 percent healthy.

"They have trained really hard all summer, so I don't think there's anything to worry about there," Boudreau said.

He said the Wild are being more cautious with Ryan Suter, who suffered a broken ankle in March, and Luke Kunin, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in March.

"We are doing that because their injuries were so severe," Boudreau said. "That said, they are both on track to be playing pretty soon."

Suter is expected to be ready for the season opener Oct. 4 at Colorado, while Kunin is expected to be cleared for contact early next month.

Greenway out

Jordan Greenway was scratched in the hours leading up to Thursday's game. Lakeville's Justin Kloos took his spot at center. Boudreau called it a precautionary measure, adding that there's no reason to be concerned about whether or not Greenway will be available moving forward.

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