Jason Zucker hat trick, Devan Dubnyk shutout lift Wild over Canadiens
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MONTREAL — Everything is going in the net for Jason Zucker.
After scoring two in a 4-2 loss in Toronto a night earlier, Zucker added three more in the Minnesota Wild's 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
He had one shorthanded, one at even strength and the third into an empty net as Minnesota (6-7-2) ended a three-game losing run.
"I'll take them any way I can get them," said Zucker. "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 (Saturday night) in Philly."
Devan Dubnyk, who has struggled early in the season, made 41 saves for his first shutout of the campaign and the 25th of his career. He is now 7-1-1 all-time against Montreal.
He also handed a first defeat in six NHL starts to the Canadiens third-string goalie Charlie Lindgren, a Lakeville, Minn., native who started a third-straight game in place of the injured Carey Price. Lindgren made 32 saves.
"I knew he was doing extremely well," Dubnyk said of 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."
It was a game in which all the breaks seemed to go in the Wild's favour.
Montreal (7-9-1), which had the puck most of the game, had two goals disallowed after video review.
Tyler Ennis hit a post behind Lindgren on a breakaway and, when the puck went down the other end, Karl Alzner tipped an Alex Galchenyuk pass out of the air and into the Minnesota net 6:21 into the game. But it was waived off by the officials and called no goal after 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 at 15:00 of the third frame, although while there was some contact, it appeared to be Wild defenceman 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," said Dubnyk. "It was the right call."
Of course, Canadiens coach Claude Julien thought it should have counted.
"There was a loose puck and their player pushed the goaltender into the net," said Julien. "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 period 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 toe deke to the backhand.
At 11:23 of the third, Zucker was posted in front of the net to deflect Nino Niederreiter's shot past Lindgren. He added an empty-net tally with 35 seconds left to play.
"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," said Julien.
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 to Minnesota.
The Canadiens got bad news just before the game that top defenceman Shea Weber (lower body) and centre Jonathan Drouin (hand) would not dress. With goalie Carey Price already out with a lower-body injury, the Canadiens were without arguably their three best players.
Minnesota was without forwards Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle.