Jason Zucker scores 6th goal in 3 games, Wild top Flyers 1-0
By MIKE CRANSTON
Nov. 12, 2017
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Devan Dubnyk couldn't immediately tell that Jason Zucker had scored again.
"Then I saw him celebrating and I was like, you've got to be kidding me," Dubnyk said.
The Minnesota Wild have come up with a simple and effective plan: Zucker scores all the goals and Dubnyk stops all the shots.
Zucker scored his sixth goal in three games and Dubnyk made 32 saves for his second straight shutout to give the Wild a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.
Zucker has scored Minnesota's last six goals. He extended his team record when he banked in a rebound off Brian Elliott 1:06 into the third period.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Zucker is the first player to score six straight goals for his team since Boston's Glen Murray did it from Jan. 29-Feb. 1, 2004.
"At the end of the day we need goals to win hockey games," Minnesota winger Nino Niederreiter said. "So I'm glad we've got at least one who scores goals."
Zucker scored two in Minnesota's 4-2 loss at Toronto on Wednesday night, then scored three times in the third period Thursday night in a 3-0 victory at Montreal that saw Dubnyk make a season-high 41 saves.
Zucker was asked if he's ever had a streak like this at any level of hockey.
"Not a chance," he said.
Dubnyk kept Minnesota in it with several strong saves through two scoreless periods and then withstood Philadelphia's late charge with an extra skater as the Wild finished a 2-2 trip.
Elliott stopped 26 shots and the Flyers were blanked for the fourth time this season.
"It was one of those nights where it was not going to be easy to score," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "We couldn't find a rebound or a puck around the net to finish one. They got one that's off our stick, off the back wall and they finished one of those. That's kind of how the night was in both directions."
After killing off the final 34 seconds of a power play to start the third period, Minnesota's Matt Dumba flubbed a shot that took an odd carom off the end boards. Zucker recovered the puck to the left of the crease and stuffed a shot past Elliott for his ninth goal, adding to the 25-year-old's remarkable week and memorable month.
Zucker's wife, Carly, gave birth to a boy Oct. 27.
"It's been a while since I've seen a guy get this many goals in a row for a team," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "But as long as he's feeling it and we get a little bit of success, that's good."
Elliott and Dubnyk traded impressive saves through two periods in the first of consecutive games between the teams.
Elliott made a sliding stick stop on Mikko Koivu's short-handed attempt early, and Dubnyk kept Philadelphia off the board despite a 12-5 edge on shots in the first period.
"He controlled everything," Boudreau said of Dubnyk. "His movements were really good. I'd like to bottle up his confidence right now."
Dubnyk made consecutive glove saves early in the second period, including on Sean Couturier's one-timer. Elliott responded by robbing Marcus Foligno, and the game opened up late in the second period with each goalie thwarting good chances.
Dubnyk, who last allowed a goal early in the third period Wednesday against Toronto, earned his 26th career shutout.
It's been quite a turnaround after he started the trip by getting pulled in a loss at Boston before allowing four goals in Toronto.
"I was pretty bad two games ago," Dubnynk said, "so it's nice that I'm back to being a good goalie again."
NOTES: Dubnyk had three straight shutouts last season. . Flyers C Nolan Patrick, who missed his eighth straight game with a suspected concussion, could practice Monday, GM Ron Hextall said. ... Flyers D Andrew MacDonald (upper body) is expected to practice Monday. ... Wild backup G Alex Stalock rejoined the team after a two-game absence for the birth of his daughter. ... Flyers F Jakub Voracek took two penalties, including a holding call with 3:49 left.
The teams play again Tuesday night at Minnesota.
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