Zucker Scores Winner in Third, Minnesota Beats Colorado 3-2

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Jason Zucker scored midway through the third period and the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Thursday night.

Jason Zucker
Jason Zucker (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Mats Zuccarello and Jordan Greenway also scored for Minnesota, which has won consecutive games for the second time this season. Alex Stalock made 25 saves and Ryan Suter added two assists as the Wild improved to 5-0-2 in their last seven home games.

Cale Makar continued his scorching November with two goals for the Avalanche, who ended a five-game, 11-day trip 3-2-0. Andre Burakovsky had two assists and Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves.

The Wild winner was a bit odd.

Grubauer stopped Eric Staal with his pad at the right post and he, Staal and few other players let up on the play. However, the puck was not covered, instead sitting in the blue paint as the netminder got up. Zucker charged in and pushed it over the red line.

Makar tied it at 2 late in the second period with a patient goal. He took a pass from Burakovsky in the right circle and held off as Jared Spurgeon slid on one knee for a block. Moving a little left, Makar delayed for a split-second as Joel Eriksson Ek went down feet first for a potential block. Instead of waiting for the slide to finish, Makar whistled a shot over him and past Stalock.

Cale Makar Colorado Avalanche
Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Makar scored a power-play goal on a wrist shot from the slot 4 1/2 minutes earlier.

Last season’s Hobey Baker Award winner as the top NCAA men’s player, Makar has six goals and nine assists in 10 games this month. His 15 points are the most in November by a rookie defenceman since Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom had 17 in 1991. Larry Murphy holds the record of 18 in 1980 with Los Angeles.

Colorado has gotten a multigoal effort from one of its players in seven straight games, tying the franchise record set by the Quebec Nordiques in 1983.

Zuccarello scored on the power play less than 2 minutes into the second period, redirecting a feed from Mikko Koivu. Fifty-three seconds later, Greenway made it 2-0 by completing a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play with Luke Kunin and Eriksson Ek.

NOTES: Minnesota G Devan Dubnyk (family issue) missed the game. Kaapo Kahkonen, recalled Wednesday from AHL Iowa under emergency conditions, backed up Stalock. … Avalanche C Tyson Jost took part in the morning skate but missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury.


Avalanche: Opens a two-game homestand Saturday against Toronto.

Wild: Starts a three-games-in-four-nights road trip Saturday in Boston. Minnesota has played a league-high 14 road games.

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Mike Cook, The Associated Press