As a native of Las Vegas, Minnesota Wild
forward Jason Zucker knows what the odds say will happen when his
team hosts the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
If recent trends continue, Zucker will be the only player — on
either team — to score a goal.
The Wild return home on a two-game winning streak thanks, almost
exclusively, to Zucker’s offense and goalie Devan Dubnyk’s flawless
play. In a 3-0 win over Montreal and a 1-0 win in Philadelphia,
Zucker scored all four goals, and Dubnyk didn’t allow a goal.
Going back to a 4-2 loss in Toronto last week, in which Zucker
scored both Wild goals, he has scored the last six Minnesota goals,
and was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week on Monday.
“That’s what happens when you get on a line with Eric Staal — good
things happen,” Zucker said Monday after Wild practice, crediting
his linemates for the recent run. “We’ve been trying to play hard
and use our speed and use our assets to our advantage. We’ve been
trying to battle and just win games, and we’ve been around the net
a lot as a line and have had a lot of good chances. For me, they’ve
happened to go in, but the other guys have been a huge part of it
For the Flyers, the Saturday home loss to Minnesota marked the
second time they’ve been blanked in their last five games. They
felt the Dubnyk shutout was a matter of the Flyers needing to get
more traffic in front of the net, create more rebounds, and take
advantage of them.
“Maybe we could have put a little more traffic,” said Flyers center
Sean Couturier, who had six shots on Saturday. “Obviously, when you
put 30 shots on net and you don’t score, there’s something you can
do better, but I thought that at the same time they played tough in
front, it’s hard to get there like someone said the shooting lanes
are hard to find. So you got to first create that lane and then go
to the net, but it was a battle.”
The Flyers were without rookie forward Nolan Patrick on Saturday
for the eighth straight game due to an upper body injury, but the
No. 2 overall pick in past summer’s draft skated with the team on
Monday and will travel to Minnesota. Whether he will be in the
lineup versus the Wild is not yet known.
“It was good. Fun to get back out there and be a part of the team
again,” Patrick said after Monday’s practice. “It was a pretty
short skate, but it felt good.”
After the game in Minnesota, the Flyers travel to Winnipeg —
Patrick’s hometown — to face the Jets on Thursday.
“I’ll be on the trip and will get to see some family and friends,”
Patrick said. “Hopefully, I’ll be ready to go. It would be cool to
play in my hometown.”
The Wild and Flyers played the first-ever regular-season game at
Xcel Energy Center on Oct. 11, 2000. The teams skated to a 3-3 tie.