ST. PAUL, Minn -- Rookie Jason Zucker, the overtime hero of the Minnesota Wild’s crucial 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, admitted he wasn’t aiming for a spot but just hoping to get the puck on net.
He did more than that, of course, snapping home his first-ever playoff goal 2:15 into overtime to move the Wild within a game in their Western Conference quarterfinals series. Chicago leads 2-1, with Game 4 set for Tuesday.
Zucker praised the pass made by linemate Matt Cullen, who was on his belly behind the Chicago net when he sent the puck to Zucker.
"The passes that guy makes are ridiculous. I don’t know how he makes half of them," he said.
Zucker had a chance to win Game 1 in overtime but clanged one off the crossbar as Chicago ended up with a 2-1 victory.
Was he owed one?
"You never deserve anything. You’ve got to work for everything. I just tried keeping the puck on net," he said.
Wild head coach Mike Yeo praised the work of his young players.
"They’re in our lineup for a reason. We need them to go out and not play like young kids. We need them to play like good players," Yeo said.
The Wild outshot the Blackhawks by a 37-27 count. Chicago was outshot by 10 or more shots just twice this season.