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game recap

Zucker, Wild defeat Islanders

Has two goals; Dubnyk makes 32 saves in win

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- Jason Zucker scored two goals to help the Minnesota Wild to a 5-3 win against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Monday.

Matt Cullen and Tyler Ennis each had a goal and an assist, and Devan Dubnyk made 32 saves for Minnesota, which scored three goals in 4:12 during the second period.

The Wild (32-20-7) are two points ahead of the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.


[WATCH: All Wild vs. Islanders highlights]


"They're a really good team," Zucker said. "You've got to make sure you don't get into a track-meet style game. It was good for us to get some forechecks on them, turn some pucks over and be able to create some chances at the net."

Video: MIN@NYI: Zucker buries second goal from in front

Ross Johnston, Anders Lee and Tanner Fritz scored for New York (29-26-6), which failed to win three a row for the first time since Jan. 7-15. The Islanders are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference.

"Three bad decisions, two-second decisions," Islanders coach Doug Weight said. "If you were playing better, consistent hockey throughout the year, you chalk it up as a couple bad decisions and you march on. But now the points are so paramount and important that it's the biggest punch in the stomach."

Zucker gave the Wild a 3-2 lead at 12:17 of the second period when he was left alone in the slot and one-timed a pass from Ryan Suter past Halak.

Ennis made it 4-2 when he slipped behind Johnny Boychuk and backhanded Cullen's feed at 14:06 of the second.

Video: MIN@NYI: Ennis pots backhander from in close

"Having a lead in the second and keeping it is really good for us," Zucker said. 

Fritz's first NHL goal made it 4-3 at 16:31 of the second with a wrist shot from the slot.

Zucker scored his second of the game and 25th of the season when he capitalized on a turnover by Nick Leddy at 16:38 of the third to make it 5-3.

"It was certainly nice to see that fifth one go in," Dubnyk said. "You breathe a little easier."

Cullen tied it 2-2 following a bad defensive change by the Islanders that allowed Suter to send Cullen on a breakaway at 9:54 of the second period.

Lee gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead with his 30th goal of the season at 1:57 of the second period when he deflected Thomas Hickey's shot from the left point.

Video: MIN@NYI: Lee nets deft deflection on Hickey's shot

Johnston tied the game 1-1 at 19:15 of the first period when he redirected Boychuk's slap shot from the right point for his third goal in 10 games.

"They capitalized on their opportunities, and there's certain ones that we didn't capitalize on," Johnston said.

Joel Eriksson Ek gave the Wild a 1-0 lead at 7:02 of the first period. Ennis intercepted Hickey's pass from behind the Islanders net in the slot and missed wide on a backhand, but Charlie Coyle retrieved the puck and fed Eriksson Ek in front for his first goal since Oct. 5, a span of 50 games.

"It's hard. You want to score, you want to help the team win," Eriksson Ek said of the drought. "But when you don't score, you need to find other ways to help the team, and I think I did that pretty good. I'm just going to try to play my best game every night."

Halak made 27 saves.

Video: MIN@NYI: Eriksson Ek jams home goal from in front


Goal of the game

Zucker's goal at 12:17 of the second period.

Video: MIN@NYI: Zucker blasts one-timer past Halak


Save of the game

Dubnyk's save against Josh Bailey at 17:55 of the first period.

Video: MIN@NYI: Dubnyk gets across to stone Bailey


Highlight of the game

Cullen's goal at 9:54 of the second period.

Video: MIN@NYI: Cullen roofs wrist shot on a breakaway


They said it

"As a team, we're trending in the right direction, which is what matters most. I always say if you're contributing yourself, you better hope you're helping the team as well. We're getting wins right now, and that's really all I care about." -- Wild forward Jason Zucker


"We just have to manage the puck better, play a simpler game, work them in the defensive zone and just play to our strengths. We have to do the right things and do it the right way." -- Islanders forward Tanner Fritz 


Need to know

Minnesota is 4-1-2 in its past seven games. … Sutter and Matt Dumba each had two assists. … Eriksson Ek's goal ended the Islanders' shutout streak at 140:18. … Leddy and Islanders center Mathew Barzal were minus-3. … New York placed goalie Thomas Greiss (lower body) on injured reserve Monday and recalled Christopher Gibson from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. Weight said he doesn't expect Greiss to be out long-term, but did not put a timetable on his return.


What's next

Wild: At the New Jersey Devils on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-N, NHL.TV)

Islanders: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; TSN4, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV)

Video: Zucker, Dubnyk lead Wild past Islanders, 5-3

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