Wild beat Predators

Published 9:04 am Monday, February 20, 2017

The Minnesota Wild have built the best record in the Western Conference with lines that are often mixed and matched.

Except for one trio, that is.

Jason Zucker scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Wild past the Nashville Predators 5-2 on Saturday night.

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Minnesota linemates Mikael Granlund and Mikko Koivu each had a goal and an assist, and Eric Staal scored into an empty net as the Wild surpassed last season’s total with their 39th victory.

“I think we feed off each other pretty well, and I think we make sure that we hold each other accountable when we have a bad shift, bad play or bad game, whatever it is,” Zucker said.

Since forming a line on Nov. 25, Zucker, Koivu and Granlund have combined for 110 points and have a plus-84 rating. The Wild are 29-6-4 since then.

“It’s every single game. If they’re not scoring, (they generate) unbelievable chances and they’re responsible at the same time,” said Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk, who made 37 saves. “(Mikko is) so good all-around. I don’t think he gets enough credit for how all-around of a player he really is.”

Minnesota, which is 6-1-1 in its past eight games, has a nine-point lead over Chicago in the Central Division and is one point back of Washington for the most points in the NHL. The Wild are 12-1-3 in their last 16 games against division foes.

Colin Wilson and P.K. Subban scored for Nashville, which played for the first time after its mandatory five-day break.