Jump to content
Hockey Wilderness
  • 3/16 RECAP: It’s a Golden Night for Zucker

    Heather Rule

    Does it get more storybook-ending than Nevada native Jason Zucker scoring the first-ever goal for the Minnesota Wild in the new T-Mobile Arena, home of the Vegas Golden Knights?


    No. It does not.


    On a night full of anticipation, madness and some good hockey, the Nevada golden boy, Zucker, scored his 29th goal of the season to put the Wild up 1-0 against Vegas in the Wild’s inaugural visit to the venue. It was a good start for the Wild as they played a complete game and skated to a 4-2 victory over Vegas.



    The Wild (40-24-7) are the only NHL team to go 3-0 against the new-expansion and first-place Golden Knights (45-21-5) in their first season. Yet the Wild flop against teams like Arizona and Colorado. Go figure.


    “That’s the way we need to come out every game… to work that hard and get rewarded feels great,” said Charlie Coyle.


    Zucker’s goal came on a behind-the-net feed from Nino Niederreiter. Zucker rushed in and sent the puck upstairs. Then he was free to celebrate with his teammates and in front of his hometown. You could see by just looking at his expression that it wasn’t just another ordinary goal.



    The Wild kept up the pressure throughout the first period and into the second. Coyle made it 2-0 at 5:53 of the second after a Matt Cullen shot failed to go in. Coyle found the rebound out front and lifted the puck to the top of the net for his 11th of the season. He also extended his point streak to five games with the goal. He has three goals and three assists during the past five games.


    Just 1:43 later, Matt Dumba scored his 11th of the season after a 2-on-1 play with Zucker and Eric Staal didn’t work out. The Wild held onto that 3-0 lead late into the third period.


    Vegas made it interesting, spoiling the shutout with 6:32 left in the third period. Not only that, but perhaps in another fitting, storybook way, former Wild player Erik Haula found the net on a broken-down Wild play in their own end. It was Haula’s 28th goal of the season.


    Still down two goals, Vegas pulled netminder Marc Andre Fleury with 2:55 left in regulation, and it worked. Ryan Carpenter scored with 56 seconds left.


    Zach Parise added an empty-netter from center ice to seal the victory, much to the delight of the crowd, which seemed to be filled with plenty of Wild fans considering it was a road game.


    Coach Bruce Boudreau he’s never been a part of a game where so many visiting fans made the trip. There were “Let’s go Wild!” and “Skol” chants (sigh) to prove it was a Minnesota crowd.


    “It was like a rock concert out there,” Boudreau said of the noise level. “This was as close to a playoff atmosphere as you’re going to get.”


    Another intriguing factor: These two teams have the potential to face each other in the first round of the playoffs.



    In goal:

    Alex Stalock (10-10-2) with 26 saves on 28 shots. Fleury (25-11-3) with 26 saves on 29 shots.


    Vegas outhit the Wild, 41-24.

    Both teams went 0 for 3 on the power play. Though Haula’s goal came just after the Wild went back to even-strength hockey.

    Former Wild player Alex Tuch was on the ice for all three Wild goals.

    Zucker and Haula each had two-point nights with a goal and assist each.

    The Wild are now 7-5-1 on the first night of back-to-back games this season.

    Up next:


    The Wild finish off another back-to-back with a game in Arizona on Saturday night.



    Think you could write a story like this? Hockey Wilderness wants you to develop your voice, find an audience, and we'll pay you to do it. Just fill out this form.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...