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Zucker's top five moments of 2017-18

A hat trick, team record and career highs across the board highlight forward's banner year

by Kayleigh Jackson / Wild.com

It was a memorable year for pending restricted free agent Jason Zucker, as he scored his first NHL hat trick and set career highs across the board with 33 goals, 31 assists and 64 points. Take a look back at the top five highlights of his season. 
 


5. Zucker opens the scoring in Vegas

Zucker is the only Nevada-raised player in the NHL, and returning to his hometown of Las Vegas to play the Golden Knights for the first time was a surreal event for the forward. The unique atmosphere didn't slow down his play, however, as he scored the first goal of the night and the first goal in Wild history at T-Mobile Arena. 

Later in the game, he set up Matt Dumba for what would be the game-winning goal, helping the Wild sweep the Cup finalist Golden Knights in their inaugural year. 

Video: MIN@VGK: Zucker buries one-timer from the slot



4. Zucker scores his 30th of the season

Prior to this year, Zucker's career best in goals was 22, a high-water mark he set during the 2016-17 season. He'd also set bests in assists with 25, and points with 47 that year. 

Those numbers would be topped by a large margin this past season, capped off by Zucker's 30th goal, coming on March 24 against the division rival Nashville Predators. The Wild would go on to nab a 4-1 win.

Video: NSH@MIN: Zucker jams puck in for his 30th of the year



3. Zucker sets up Spurgeon for OT winner

It seems strange that out of Zucker's highlight-reel moments this season one of his best would come on a goal he didn't even score. But his back-and-forth play with Jared Spurgeon ended with the puck in the net and Wild teammates flooding the ice.

As time wound down in the overtime period against the San Jose Sharks, Zucker, Spurgeon and Mikko Koivu pressured the Sharks in their zone. After battling for the puck, Spurgeon knocked it across the ice to a waiting Zucker, who had a clean lane to the net. 

Instead of taking the shot himself, he waited and drew the attention of the Sharks' Brent Burns and Chris Tierney, as well as goalie Martin Jones. After they'd committed to defending No. 16, he sent the puck back to an open Spurgeon, who launched it into a gaping net. 

Video: SJS@MIN: Spurgeon gets 200th NHL point on OT winner



2. Zucker scores six straight goals to set a team record … 

On the road just days after his son Hendrix was born, Zucker had a November to remember. Not only did he pick up points in all four games on the road trip, but scored six consecutive goals for the Wild, setting a team record and becoming the first NHL player to do so since Boston's Glen Murray in 2003-04. 

Teammates Nino Niederreiter and Eric Staal made it on the score sheet in a win against the Philadelphia Flyers to foil Zucker's attempt at tying a League record that had stood since 1921. Not to be stopped, though, he added the third goal in that night's victory. 

Video: Zucker, Kucherov, Holtby named 3 Stars of the Week



1. … notching his first NHL hat trick in the process

Going into the third period in Montreal on Nov. 9, the Wild and Canadiens were deadlocked in a scoreless tie. Who else would break the stalemate but Zucker, scoring a natural hat trick in the final 20 minutes of play. 

He was just the second player in Wild history to accomplish the feat of scoring a hat trick in one period. Making it even more impressive, his first goal of the evening came while the Wild was shorthanded.

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


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