Zucker nets hat trick, Wild blank Canadiens

Published 11:29 pm Thursday, November 9, 2017

MONTREAL — Everything is going in the net for Jason Zucker lately.

Zucker scored three goals in the third period and Devan Dubnyk made 41 saves for a shutout as the Minnesota Wild beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 to end their three-game losing streak Thursday night.

It was the second multi-goal game in two nights for Zucker, who scored twice in a 4-2 loss at Toronto on Wednesday. This time, he had one short-handed, one at even strength and one into an empty net.

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“I’ll take them any way I can get them,” Zucker said. “I guarantee I’ve never done that (score five times in two games). It’s nice to get that, but we’ve got to regroup and get ready for our next game in Philly.”

Dubnyk, who has struggled early on, posted his first shutout this season and the 25th of his career. He is 7-1-1 against Montreal.

Third-string Montreal goalie Charlie Lindgren made 32 saves but lost for the first time in six NHL starts. Lindgren, from Lakeville, Minnesota, started his third straight game in place of injured Carey Price.

“I knew he was doing extremely well,” Dubnyk said about Lindgren. “Good for him.

“I know him a little bit from Minnesota and he’s a nice kid. It’s always fun to see a guy playing well like that and he certainly did that tonight.”

The Canadiens controlled the puck most of the game but had two goals wiped out after video review.

Tyler Ennis hit a post behind Lindgren on a breakaway and, when the puck went down to the other end, Karl Alzner tipped Alex Galchenyuk’s pass out of the air and into the Minnesota net 6:21 into the game. But it was waved off by the officials and called no goal after replay review even though Alzner’s stick appeared to be quite clearly below the height of the crossbar.

Officials ruled goaltender interference when Charles Hudon scored from the crease with five minutes left in the third period. While there was some contact, it appeared to be Wild defenseman Matt Dumba who pushed Dubnyk aside in the crease.

“If (Hudon) hadn’t backed into me I’d have been at the top of the crease and been able to spread my pads,” Dubnyk said. “It was the right call.”

Of course, Canadiens coach Claude Julien thought the goal should have counted.

“There was a loose puck and their player pushed the goaltender into the net,” Julien said. “It’s frustrating. Every time there’s a 50-50 play like that, you never know how it will go.”

The deadlock was broken 2:46 into the third with the Wild down a man when Zucker scooped up a loose puck in the neutral zone and went in alone to score on a deke to his backhand.

Zucker was positioned in front of the net to deflect Nino Niederreiter’s shot past Lindgren at 11:23. Zucker completed the hat trick on an empty-netter with 35 seconds remaining.

“We could have defended better on the goals we gave up, but despite everything that happened, I don’t think we played a bad game,” Julien said.

It was the Wild’s second win in their last six games, both against Montreal. They beat the Canadiens 6-3 at home last week.

Montreal has lost only twice in its last seven games, both times to Minnesota.

NOTES: The Canadiens got bad news just before the game that top defenseman Shea Weber (lower body) and center Jonathan Drouin (hand) would not dress. With Price already out due to a lower-body injury, the Canadiens were without arguably their three best players. … Minnesota played without forwards Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle. … Julien, in his second stint with Montreal, coached his 200th game for the team. He has coached 1,038 NHL games in all.

Up next

Wild: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

Canadiens: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.