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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 3, Jets 2

Zucker scores twice as Minnesota secures season series against rival Winnipeg

by Dan Myers @MNWildScribe / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center in Toronto on Thursday night:

1. Minnesota secured the season series against its rivals from Winnipeg.

The Wild is now 3-0 versus the Jets, one season after Winnipeg went 7-2 against the Wild, including the playoffs last spring. 

If the Wild is to make the postseason, there's a strong chance it will play Winnipeg at some point along the way, potentially even in the first round for a second straight season. Knowing that it can have success could provide Minnesota with a big mental boost.

Minnesota and Winnipeg will meet two more times this season, including once north of the border on Feb. 26 and again April 2 back in St. Paul. With the way things are going in the Western Conference, and inside the Central Division, it's likely both of those games will be critically important to both seeding and confidence as the end of the season draws nearer.

2. It's safe to say Jason Zucker has the confidence flowing again.

After a frustrating road trip and a stretch of games going back to Christmas, Zucker was able to snap a seven-game goal drought with his second-period marker that gave the Wild a 2-0 lead. 

Video: WPG@MIN: Zucker redirects puck home for PPG

Six minutes later, Zucker busted loose from the penalty box and received an outstanding flip pass from Zach Parise, sending the former in all alone. Zucker made a nice deke to get Connor Hellebuyck to commit, then roofed a forehand shot under the crossbar for his second of the game and 12th of the season.

Video: WPG@MIN: Zucker pots second goal on breakaway

The two-goal night doubled his total from the previous 14 games combined and gets the Las Vegas native going at what promises to be a critical stretch of the schedule before the All-Star break later this month.

Speaking of the All-Star Game, we'll find out soon if Parise will indeed represent the Wild in San Jose. Moments before he sprang Zucker for the breakaway goal, he had the courage to step in front of a one-timer from Patrik Laine, blocking his point shot from getting to the net. 

3. Jordan Greenway got the Wild on the board with an early goal.

Video: WPG@MIN: Greenway buries quick wrist shot

Of course, early goals are nothing new for the rookie forward, who now has eight tallies in all on the season. Half of those goals have been the first goal scored in the game. Six of those eight have accounted for the Wild's first goal in a game.

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