Zucker’s overtime goal lifts Wild past Hurricanes

Published 4:23 am Friday, November 13, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. — Devan Dubnyk said he was comfortable in goal against an overtime power play.

So the Minnesota Wild’s goalie stood on his head for a couple of minutes until his team could get back to even strength.

Jason Zucker scored his second goal of the game with 1:10 left in the extra period, giving the Wild a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

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“At least (4-on-3) is a structure that you’re used to seeing once in a while in games,” Dubnyk said of the situation. “You kind of have to flip your mindset from the 3-on-3 to a penalty kill. And we got some huge blocks there during the PK. I had patience on my feet and really watched the puck.”

Thomas Vanek scored the other Minnesota goal, while Ryan Suter had two assists to give him 12 on the season.

Andrej Nestrasil scored his first goal of the season for Carolina and Justin Faulk had the other.

Dubnyk stopped 37 shots, while Carolina’s Cam Ward saved 18.

“We were really fortunate, as far as I’m concerned, to only be down 2-1 (after 20 minutes),” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. “I think we recognized that and knew that we had to take advantage of that opportunity. I really liked the way we played the second period. Obviously we grinded it out, and did what we had to do to get to overtime.”

Faulk scored his sixth power-play goal of the season, ranking him first among NHL defensemen in that category.

The Hurricanes led 2-0 after a first period in which they outshot the visitors 19-5.

Faulk gave Carolina the lead on a power play at 4:26, beating Dubnyk glove side from the high slot with Eric Staal on the assist.

It was Minnesota’s first win in three overtime games this season and the Hurricanes first loss in four extra-period contests. It was the third straight win for the Wild, which has also won three straight in the series.

“Our intensity and lack of effort in the second period denied us the opportunity to get two points,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “This homestand is huge. There are four games left now, right? It’s absolutely huge. We’ve talked about it a million times. We know how it works, standings-wise. We understand what’s at stake.”

At 8:17, Nestrasil followed a Jay McClement rebound and scooped the puck over a prone Dubnyk’s skate to make it 2-0. The original call of goalie interference was overturned on video review.

Zucker cut the lead in half at 15:50 on a wrister from the left circle with Suter on the assist.

And the Wild tied the score at 9:41 of the second when Vanek buried a rebound of Mikael Granlund’s shot.

“The first one just hit off me and ended up going off the post,” Zucker said. “I’m just trying to get speed. We didn’t start the game the way we wanted it. I don’t think we came out the way we wanted to in the first 15 minutes. But (Dubnyk) came up big for us. He was huge.”

NOTES: This was the opener of a five-game homestand for the Hurricanes and the first of the Wild’s four-game road trip. … Carolina’s next game is at home on Saturday night against Philadelphia. … Minnesota visits Dallas on Saturday night. … C Brad Malone and D Michal Jordan were healthy scratches for the Hurricanes. … D Marco Scandella, D Gustav Olofsson and G Niklas Backstrom were healthy scratches for the Wild. … The Wild have won five of the last nine games against Carolina, but are 2-5-1 all-time in North Carolina. … The teams’ only other meeting this season will be on March 19 in Minnesota.