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  • Kuemper out-duels Lundqvist and forges franchise record 10th consecutive victory


    Ever heard 18,006 people be so silent you could hear a pin drop? The “most famous arena in the world” Madison Square Garden, a house of horrors for the Minnesota Wild in recent years was quiet as the Wild scored five times in the second period to cushion themselves to a franchise record 10-game winning streak.

    Not like “kissing your sister” at all.

    Those were the words Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau used to described tying the franchise record streak in a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night. To be able to accomplish the feat in the second of a back-to-back against the high scoring New York Ranger was going to be no easy task.

    It didn’t start well for Wild netminder Darcy Kuemper when Mats Zuccarello beat an icing infraction and fed a pass to Kris Kreider for a 1-0 lead just 3:54 into the game. Kuemper was coming off a 4-1 win over Arizona a week ago. He was tested often, and at times, looked shaky, but made 31 saves en route to victory. His play, while still good enough to win, just goes to show the kind of fantastic goaltending and the extremely high level of goaltending Devan Dubnyk is giving the Minnesota Wild.

    Mikael Granlund had himself a night. With a goal in the first period to tie the game, he’d add an assist on Jason Zucker’s goal in the second period for his 30th multi-point game of his career.

    The Wild went to work right away in the second period. Mikko Koivu scored his ninth goal of the season when Zucker fed him a pass for a one-timer past King Henrik. Zucker would score a goal of his own and also was credited with an assist on Granlund’s first period goal for 3 points on the night.

    That whole Zucker - Koivu - Granlund line was en fuego. That line combined for three goals and five assists for eight points. That line sees a ton of defensive zone deployment, and their forecheck and chemistry is unstoppable right now.

    The Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle would not be left out of the fun. Nino scored 18 seconds after Koivu to quickly extend the lead to 3-1. Normally with Dubnyk in between the pipes, three goals would be enough, but things got a bit tense when Ryan McDonagh’s shot from the point floated into the net after deflecting off Jason Pominville’s stick.

    Just under two minutes later, Marco Scandella would receive a loose puck in the left faceoff circle and drive a shot just inside the post. It was Scandella’s first goal of the season and if you blinked, you wouldn’t have been sure that he scored because the puck was in and out so fast that the official had to double-take. Coyle would get the lone assist on the goal. That would end Lundqvist’s night.

    Zucker would add his goal before Matt Dumba would score on the only power play the Wild would get in the game. Dumba pinched down below the dots and the rebound from a Coyle shot would land on Dumba’s stick. Dumba would get two cracks at the net and it would be his fifth tally of the season.

    Hastings, Minnesota-native Derek Stepan would end a seven goal period with a hard wrister off the far post and in.

    The Wild would get zero shots on goal for almost the entire third period, as the Rangers put 12 shots on Kuemper. Kreider would net his second of the night at the 17 minute mark. It didn’t help that the Wild, who played disciplined hockey for most of the game, took two penalties in the frame. Charlie Coyle would get the only shot on goal in the period for the Wild when he sealed the game with an empty-netter.

    After the game, Wild PR posted some incredible numbers in this record-setting eve.

    Ten games in a row. What a time to be alive!

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