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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 3, Canadiens 0

Zucker's first career hat trick lifts Wild in Montreal

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre in Montreal on Thursday night:

1. Devan Dubnyk has certainly had to withstand his share of bad luck in recent games. On Thursday, Dubnyk made his own.

Playing for the second time in as many nights, Dubnyk was outstanding against the Canadiens, making all 41 saves, including 29 over the final 40 minutes to preserve his first shutout of the season and 25th of his NHL career.

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

"I thought we played well. It was an exciting game. That was big for us," Dubnyk said. "We have been in that situation a couple times this year going into the third period and haven't ended up on the right side so I thought that was an important one for us."

After allowing seven goals over his past two starts, including more than a couple that seemed to defy both physics and logic, Dubnyk was calm, cool and collected all night on Thursday. His teammates and coach Bruce Boudreau noticed right away.

"He was moving and tracking the puck really well. He wasn't looking around," Boudreau said. "Even the goal that was challenged, you could tell he made that save actually - he couldn't get back into position - but he made the save and you knew at that point he was really on."

Video: Bruce Boudreau postgame at Montreal

The puck twice got by Dubnyk; once in the first period on a goal that was immediately waved off because of a high stick. Then in the third, Charles Hudon appeared to put the Canadiens on the board with five minutes left in regulation, but he entered the crease and got a piece of Dubnyk before finishing the play.

Each time, replay reviews went the Wild's way, keeping Montreal off the board.

"It feels good and it's important for all of us," Dubnyk said. "You know it's funny, it's one of those things, when things just don't feel like they're going your way, the hardest thing to do is stay with what you're doing and not start to change your approach or change your game day routine and just have trust in what you're doing. That's a tough thing to do. Being able to have as much experience and play as many games as I have, you find a way to do that and that was a lot of fun tonight."

2. Jason Zucker has managed to hoist the entirety of the Wild's offense on his shoulders the past two games.

After scoring both Minnesota goals in a 4-2 loss in Toronto on Wednesday, Zucker tallied his first career hat trick -- a natural hat trick to boot -- when he scored un, deux, trois goals in the third period.

"I think every guy has taken it upon themselves to make sure they're stepping up and doing a little bit more," Zucker said. "I think a lot of guys played really well tonight. [Dubnyk] was great. We had a lot of guys blocking shots. [Marcus Foligno], he had three in a matter of five seconds on ... one shift, so everybody's kind of taken it upon themselves and I'm trying to do the same."

Video: MIN@MTL: Zucker records his first career hat trick

Zucker's red-hot stretch has catapulted him to the top of the Wild's scoring charts; his eight goals this season are two more than Chris Stewart's six, and his 13 points are one more than brand-new linemate Eric Staal's 12.

"He's got the last two games covered," Staal said. "He's moving really well and the puck seems to be finding him. He's got some offensive skill to finish and right now, it's going in for him, so we want to keep that riding as long as we can."

Zucker scored in a multitude of ways on Thursday, scoring a beautiful short-handed goal, using Mikko Koivu's patented forehand-backhand-roof© maneuver, fighting off a pair of defensemen to beat Canadiens goaltender (and former St. Cloud State Husky) Charlie Lindgren under the crossbar.

His second goal came off a deflection of a Staal shot from the high slot, with Zucker camped out on top of the blue paint creating havoc in front of Lindgren.

Tweet from @mnwild: �� Devan Dubnyk and Jason Zucker talk after #mnwild�����s 3-0 win in Montreal. pic.twitter.com/93Ug2oWvRl

Zucker's third went into an empty net, with Stewart yelling at him from the bench that he had plenty of time and space to finish it off.

"I didn't even look at the net," Zucker said. "I was just hoping that I just happened to hit it. It was pretty lucky."

The shorty was the third of Zucker's NHL career and fourth by Minnesota this season, a total that is tied for most in the League. 

3. For Staal, the assist on Zucker's second goal was the 500th of his NHL career.

In doing so, Staal became the 141st player in NHL history to reach 500 career assists, and is one of 15 active players to have reached the milestone.

"It means I've been around awhile," Staal said. "It's still nice, for sure. I'm hoping to play a lot longer yet and have some more of those milestones as I continue my career. But it's nice to have it happen with a win and with a big game from a linemate."


Loose Pucks

• Zucker finished the game a plus-3 and had a team-best seven shots on goal. 

• Minnesota went 0-for-3 on the power play, but also killed all three of Montreal's man advantages, scoring one short-handed goal in the process.

• Lindgren, a Lakeville native, finished with 32 saves on 34 shots, sustaining the first loss of his NHL career (5-1-0).

• Attendance: 21,302


He Said It

"I think that, usually, it's going to go even. You're going to get those goals against you, and you're gonna get some, as long as you keep pushing and keep doing the right things around that net. For sure, it [stinks] when it happens, but what can you do?" -- Wild forward Mikko Koivu on Dubnyk overcoming bad bounces the past few games


They Said It

"It looked like [Dubnyk] was feeling well over there. After the second period, you knew whoever popped that first one was going to have a big advantage. It was a pretty good battle." -- Canadiens goaltender Charlie Lindgren


Dan's Three Stars

* Jason Zucker

** Devan Dubnyk

*** Eric Staal

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

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