Zucker, Dubnyk lead Wild past Lightning 3-0


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jason Zucker kept putting the puck in the net for the Minnesota Wild. And, Devan Dubnyk refused to let any get by him.

Zucker scored all three of Minnesota’s goals for his first career hat trick, Dubnyk made 25 saves for his second shutout of the season and the Wild beat Tampa Bay 3-0 on Thursday night to deny the Lightning a chance to become the first NHL team to clinch a playoff spot.

The Wild improved to 6-0-2 in their last eight games and maintained a hold on the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference playoff race, four points ahead of Colorado with 14 games remaining for both teams.

“We had some tremendous energy today and we pressured them all night long,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. “When you pressure any team, it’s tough to make plays. We were forechecking, we stripped pucks and I thought it was (Dubnyk’s) best game of the year.”

Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 27 saves, but saw his 10-game winning streak snapped one game short of tying the franchise record set by Louis Domingue earlier this season.

Revealed: Growing Number of Young People Now Identify as 'Gender Season'

A victory by the Lightning would have clinched a playoff spot after Columbus lost to Pittsburgh earlier Thursday night.

Tampa Bay lost for the second time in four games after a 12-0-2 stretch in the previous 14, and were shut out for the second time this season — first in regulation.

“We played a stubborn game tonight and stubborn in the sense that we didn’t manage the puck at all,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “When you have to play that grind-it-out game, we refused to play it tonight.”

Zucker put the Wild in front in the first period off a rush play, getting a deflection on Donato’s shot at 10:50.

Minnesota protected the lead with a strong defensive effort the rest of the way. And the rare times the Lightning produced a chance, Dubnyk was there to keep the highest-scoring team in the league off the board.

Dubnyk’s best save at 6:44 of the second period when Anthony Cirelli raced in on a breakaway chance. But Dubnyk came out with an aggressive poke check attempt and stopped the puck with his helmet to keep the Wild in the lead.

“I almost changed my mine at the end because he cut to the middle, but I already committed to it,” Dubnyk said. “It’s about timing, it’s a left-handed shot coming down that side. It helps having a 10-foot wingspan when I spread out, so if I time it properly and I’m willing to take a shin pad to the forehead it usually works.”

Zucker doubled Minnesota’s lead in the third period during a scramble in front, knocking the puck out of the air and into the vacated part of the net. The play was originally ruled no goal for being hit with a high stick. But the officials discussed the play and ruled it a legal goal before going to video review, where the goal was upheld.

Zucker completed the hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:46 left.

NASCAR Star Apologizes After Nasty War of Words with Owner of 10 Cup Series Tracks

“I’m just trying to work hard, that’s all it is,” said Zucker, who reached the 20-goal mark for the third consecutive season and fourth in the past five. “My linemates are playing great and we’re just trying to be a cohesive unit.”

NOTES: The Wild outshot Tampa Bay 14-5 in the third period. … Minnesota C Victor Rask participated in the morning skate, his first practice with the team since suffering an undisclosed lower-body injury on Feb. 12. … Former Lightning RW J.T. Brown returned to Tampa for the first time since he was put on waivers last season. Brown appeared in 286 games during parts of six seasons from 2011-18. … Tampa Bay trailed after the first period for just the 19 time this season in 68 games. .. Wild C Luke Kunin left in the second period and did not return after struggling to get to his skates following a hit from Cedric Paquette. Boudreau said after the game Kunin suffered an upper-body injury. . Wild C Eric Staal extended his scoring streak to eight games.


Lightning: Host Detroit on Saturday.

Wild: At Florida on Friday.


More AP NHL: and

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City