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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 5, Ducks 3

Minnesota scores four unanswered in Hockey Day triumph

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 5-3 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Saturday night:

1. Trailing by a goal with time running out, the Wild scored three goals in a span of 1:59 to take the lead, then put the game away.

Minnesota's comeback began after Jason Zucker's second-period tally, and momentum built from there. The Wild made a big push at the end of the second but were turned away by the crossbar. Another post early in the third had the Wild down but not out.

Video: Locker Room Postgame vs. Anaheim 

"I think we were starting to push a little bit and push back, starting playing our game, getting some speed and some quick passing," Zucker said. "That was a big goal. We did pick it up after that and kept rolling."

The Wild continued its jaunt with 6:21 left, getting a pretty re-direction from Erik Haula in the slot to tie the game at 3. Just 36 seconds later, Minnesota was out in front when Ryan Suter's flip from the left corner hit off Ducks relief goaltender Jonathan Bernier and into the net for a 4-3 lead. 

Shortly after, Mikael Granlund sprung Jason Zucker with a pretty outlet pass for his second breakaway goal of the night, sending Xcel Energy Center into a frenzy.

"That was fun," Suter said. "It was loud, the crowd was into it, it was a lot of fun. It was a good ending to a great day for Minnesota."

Video: ANA@MIN: Haula, Suter and Zucker score in two minutes

2. After watching Anaheim score three-straight goals to take a 3-1 lead, the Wild badly needed some momentum, and Zucker provided it.

Corey Perry's power-play goal 2:23 into the second period gave the Ducks a two-score advantage, but Zucker took advantage of a gift, scooping up Sami Vatanen's turnover near the Ducks' defensive blue line and coming in on replacement goaltender Jonathan Bernier all alone. 

Video: ANA@MIN: Zucker finishes from the slot after turnover

Zucker fought off a hefty slash from Vatanen and beat Bernier blocker side with a lethal wrist shot to grab momentum back and get the Wild back within one goal.

Video: Bruce Boudreau Postgame vs. Anaheim

"We were pretty dead. And when he scored it's like anything else it gave us life," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "When we came in in between the second and third knowing we were only down a goal and knowing our history, we didn't think we were out of it."

Zucker has been red hot of late; his two-goal Saturday gave him 14 on the season and eight in his past 14 games, to go along with six assists during that same stretch. 

"I'm just trying to play consistent every night, making sure I can play that same way night in and night out and that's the hardest part about playing in this League is being consistent," Zucker said. "I've been leaning on [Granlund] and [Koivu] and trying to play strong as a line every night and if we do that we'll be fine."

"[He's been] outstanding," Boudreau said. "When he's moving his legs he's a very very dangerous player." 

3. Playing in his seventh career Hockey Day Minnesota game, Haula celebrated by getting the Wild on the board less than 3 minutes into the game, then tying it late in the third.

Four of Haula's appearances on Hockey Day have come in a Wild uniform; he now has three goals in those games. He added an assist in his final HDM game with the University of Minnesota in 2013. 

Video: ANA@MIN: Haula winds up and buries a slapper

After Zach Parise gobbled up a turnover in the defensive zone, he hit Jason Pominville cruising through neutral with a fine outlet pass. Haula entered the offensive zone on Pominville's tail, taking a drop pass and rifling a big slap shot from the top of the left circle over the glove of Ducks goaltender John Gibson for a 1-0 lead.

Following a seven-game goal drought that began on New Year's Eve and ended Tuesday against New Jersey, Haula now has three goals in his past three games.

Pominville continued his solid play, contributing his eighth point in his past eight outings (1-7=8). 

Haula's third-period tally set the stage for Minnesota's thrilling three-goal outburst with under seven minutes to play in regulation.

"I think we just kept pulling," Haula said. "We could feel it at the end of the second there that we were turning around a little bit. That's a good team over there and they played hard and we're happy that the way we came back."


Loose Pucks

• The Wild improved to 8-2-1 on Hockey Day Minnesota.

• Minnesota's comeback win was its 14th in 45 games this season. It had nine in all 82 games last season.

Video: ANA@MIN: Dubnyk stones Kesler on the doorstep

• Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk finished with 26 saves.

• Ducks goaltender John Gibson left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. Gibson made four saves on five shots before exiting.

• Bernier stopped 16 shots in relief of Gibson.

• Celebrating his 32nd birthday, Suter finished with a goal and an assist and was a plus-4. He improved his League-best plus/minus rating to plus-30. 

• Minnesota reached 30 wins in just 45 games, breaking the previous team record of 52 games. The Wild is 19-2-2 in its past 23 games.

• Attendance: 19,288


He Said It

"I say it time and again, but these guys allow me to just stay with it regardless of how the game's going, knowing that I gotta make the next save because we're very capable of coming back." -- Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk


They Said It

"I would just categorize it as the goals that we gave were gifts. They didn't have to really work as we did for ours in my estimation." -- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle


Three Stars

* Ryan Suter

** Erik Haula 

*** Jason Zucker

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