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Postgame Hat Trick: Canucks 4, Wild 1

Returns of Zucker, Pateryn not enough as Minnesota drops third consecutive game

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /'s Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-1 loss against the Vancouver Canucks at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Sunday afternoon:

1. Minnesota allowed one power-play goal but was still really, really good.

That's because it was a constant parade to the penalty box, much to the chagrin of fans in attendance, the Wild coaching staff and its players. The Wild was whistled for eight penalties in all, and Minnesota's slumping penalty kill did a great job, eliminating seven of them without allowing a goal. 

The downside of all those penalties is that the Wild was unable to find much flow in the offensive end. That's because Minnesota had five power plays of its own, going 0-fer with the man advantage. 

That didn't leave much in the way of 5-on-5 action, where the Wild has been at its best lately. 

Elias Pettersson scored the lone power-play goal at 9:20 of the second period, breaking a scoreless tie. 

Marcus Foligno tied things up 2 1/2 minutes later, capping an odd-man rush by swatting a rebound off a Luke Kunin shot out of mid-air. 

Video: VAN@MIN: Foligno bats rebound past Markstrom in front

But Vancouver answered just 13 seconds later when Bo Horvat pushed a loose puck past Devan Dubnyk following a wonky bounce. Tanner Pearson's shot from the left-wing halfwall bounced off Matt Dumba's stick blade, over Dubnyk's pad and through the blue paint to Horvat on the back door. 

Vancouver extended the lead 72 seconds later on a point shot by defenseman and University of North Dakota product Troy Stecher, who beat Dubnyk with a short-side shot to make it 3-1.

Minnesota had some chances in the game's final minutes, but Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom made some fantastic saves.

For the second-straight game, the Wild couldn't find a way to get to two, pushing its winless streak to three games.

2. Welcome back, Greg Pateryn. 

It's been a long road back to health for the veteran defenseman, who skated in his first game of the season on Sunday afternoon. 

Pateryn underwent bilateral core muscle repair surgery all the way back on Oct. 1, an injury that was expected to keep him sidelined for six weeks. But a couple of setbacks along the way stalled Pateryn's comeback attempts and forced him to miss 14 weeks instead.

A classic defensive-minded defenseman, Pateryn brings size and a physical presence to the back end. He scored one goal and had seven points in 80 games with the Wild last season, but will be challenged for his ice time the rest of the way. 

On Sunday, the Wild scratched Brad Hunt for the first time this season. Hunt leads team defensemen in goals with seven, but a game off might not hurt, as he's still recovering from a minor sinus procedure he had last week, one that typically takes a week or so to get back to 100 percent form. 

Nick Seeler, who has been on a conditioning stint with Iowa in the American Hockey League, will be back soon as well. Once he is, Minnesota will have eight men competing for six spots. 

3. Welcome back, Jason Zucker.

The Wild forward missed 10 games after sustaining a fractured leg in Chicago last month, then had surgery to repair it. 

Zucker, who might be one of the fastest healers in the world, was back on the ice on his own last week then joined the team for practice at TRIA Rink on Saturday, skating with teammates once before re-joining the lineup exactly 28 days after he was hit by Brent Seabrook's slap shot dump in at the United Center on Dec. 15. 

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