Scott Wedgewood entered Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers in the second period after Jake Oettinger pulled himself with an injury. The Rangers eventually scored four goals, including three in quick succession in the third period to put the Stars out of the game. Now, with Oettinger expected to miss at least a week, it’s Wedgewood’s turn to show what he can do in the starter’s crease.
“It’s unfortunate late in the game, teams got a chance, and as a group, you don’t get out of it,” he said. “Got a chance to play a few in a row and get a rhythm going. It’s almost nicer to know you're going to go and get a chance to give your team a chance to win.”
Wedgewood has been open about how he has worked on his game, especially the mental aspects over the years. As he navigated the waters of bouncing from the NHL to AHL and team to team, he began speaking with a mental health professional and developed a visible confidence and calm that have transformed his career.
This summer, he was rewarded with the first multi-year contract of his career and now focuses on shifting gears to preparation to play likely every night until Oettinger returns.
“Just stick with the process,” he said. “There’s not much really to change. As I reflect on games, I am pretty happy. Obviously, the results you look at, you want to be better. But the games I have played, I have been confident in a lot of the things I am doing.”
Dallas signed AHL goaltender Matt Murray to his first NHL contract to back up for Wedgewood while Oettinger is out.
Sticking with the process has been a common saying around the room this season. New Head Coach Pete DeBoer has been insistent on trusting the process and improving every day until eventually reaching the pinnacle of what the team can be under the new systems. Now entering the second month of the season, he and the players have been able to reflect on how that process has gone to this point.
“I think it’s pretty good, DeBoer said. “It’s not where we wanted to be and we knew it wouldn’t be. It takes a couple of months before you are comfortable in everything you're doing. What I like is that we have had success early in certain things, which creates confidence in what you’re doing. Now it’s training yourself to do it every night and not revert back to old habits.”
“In the beginning, it was a lot of new things,” Nils Lundkvist said. “Now, it’s getting more to habits. You don’t need to think too much, you get to your spots, and you know what to expect. I feel us as a team, we are going to stick to it a little more and execute a little better. When we defend well and do good breakouts, we play really good, fun, speedy hockey, and we are going to be hard to beat.”
Starting Goaltender: Scott Wedgewood will start his third game of the season. He has yet to win a game in his three appearances (0-2-1).
Lineup Note: Miro Heiskanen skated this morning and will be questionable for tonight’s game. He will skate in warmups.
Stars Projected Lines
Kings: The Kings are coming off an impressive 5-1 victory in St. Louis on Monday. They currently sit third in the Pacific Division as they continue to pass the torch from their legendary corps to the younger players.
On the stat sheet, it has been one of those younger players that has led the way. 23-year-old Gabriel Vilardi has been on a tear, recording eight goals and 13 points in the first 11 games of the season.
I expect we will see Cal Petersen in goal after future Hall-of-Famer Jonathan Quick led the way against the Blues on Monday.
Sam’s Three Keys
- Scott Wedgewood return to form
- Score a power-play goal
- Get the lead early on Kings team that played last night in St. Louis
He Said It
“I told him any day up here is a great day,” Wedgwood said about Matt Murray receiving his first NHL contract. “Enjoy it. I think we go to his hometown in Edmonton, that will be cool for him. He has done a lot of great things over the last year and a half. He’s a great kid. Excited for him to enjoy the process and make a little bit of money while he’s here.”