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game recap

Zucker, Dubnyk help Wild defeat Canadiens, end three-game skid

Forward scores hat trick, goalie gets shutout

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Jason Zucker scored his first NHL hat trick, all in the third period, and the Minnesota Wild ended a three-game losing streak with a 3-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Thursday.

 

[WATCH: All Wild vs. Canadiens highlights]

 

Devan Dubnyk made 41 saves for his 25th NHL shutout and his first in 50 starts since Dec. 20. Minnesota (6-7-2), which defeated Montreal 6-3 one week ago on the road, had lost four of five.

Zucker, who scored both Wild goals in a 4-2 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, put a backhand past Canadiens rookie goaltender Charlie Lindgren for Minnesota's fourth shorthanded goal of the season to make it 1-0 at 2:46 of the third period.

"He's single-handedly scoring every one of our goals, literally, so he's got that capability," Dubnyk said. "He's gotten better every single game every year from the time I got traded here (from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 15, 2015) and he's a fun guy to watch, he's a great player, and even better guy in the room. So I'm always happy to see him score."

Eric Staal got his 500th NHL assist when Zucker made it 2-0 with his second goal of the game at 11:23 of the third. Zucker scored into an empty net with 35 seconds remaining in the period to complete the hat trick.

Video: MIN@MTL: Zucker completes hatty with empty-net goal

"He's got the last two games covered," Staal said. "You know, he's moving really well. The puck seems to be finding him and he's got some offensive skill to finish and right now it's going in so we want to keep that riding as long as we can. He's a good competitor and it was fun to be a part of his hat trick tonight."

A goal by Montreal's Charles Hudon at 15:00 of the third period was disallowed after Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau challenged and video review determined there was goaltender interference by Hudon.

Lindgren made 32 saves in his third straight start for the Canadiens (7-9-1), who had won three straight. The 23-year-old native of Lakeville, Minnesota, lost for the first time in six games (5-1-0) in his NHL career, all with Montreal, since making his League debut in 2015-16.

"[Dubnyk] obviously looked like he was feeling really well over there," Lindgren said. "After the second period you knew it was going to be whoever popped that first one [in] was going to have a big advantage. So I'd say it was a pretty good battle."

 

Goal of the game

Zucker's second goal of the game at 11:23 of the third period.

Video: MIN@MTL: Zucker deflects in second goal of the game

 

Save of the game

Dubnyk's save on Joe Morrow at 9:51 of the first period.

Video: MIN@MTL: Dubnyk slides across to deny Morrow

 

Highlight of the game

Zucker's shorthanded goal at 2:46 of the third period.

Video: MIN@MTL: Zucker nets backhander for shorthanded goal

 

They said it

"That was big for us. We've been in that situation a couple of times this year going into the third period and haven't ended up on the right side of it. So I think that was an important one for us, for sure." -- Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk

"We weren't opportunistic. They worked hard, too. They played 60 minutes and I'd say that the fact that they had lost three straight, they were more desperate than we were." -- Canadiens forward Phillip Danault

 

Need to know

Staal has 43 points (21 goals, 22 assists) in 46 games against Montreal, including five (two goals, three assists) in the past four. ... The Canadiens were missing three of their top players because of injury: defenseman Shea Weber (lower body), center Jonathan Drouin (upper body) and goalie Carey Price (lower body), who missed his fourth straight game.

 

What's next

Wild: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSP+, FS-N, NHL.TV)

Canadiens: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, SN, TVA Sports, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Dubnyk, Zucker lead Wild to shutout win over Habs

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