Jason Zucker scored his first goal since returning from injury and added an assist as the Minnesota Wild stomped the visiting Dallas Stars 7-0 on Saturday night.
Zucker fractured his fibula during a Dec. 15 game against the Chicago Blackhawks, blocking a slapshot from Brent Seabrook. He had surgery and returned to the ice Jan. 12 against the Vancouver Canucks, but had been held off the scoreboard.
Zucker put the puck in the net Thursday in a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning but the goal was overturned.
The Wild were already off to a superb start, leading 2-0 after the first period with a pair of goals from defensemen Jared Spurgeon and Carson Soucy. Soucy, tied among NHL rookies in plus-minus, hadn't scored in eight games.
Zucker kicked off the second period with a power-play goal at the 3:38 mark and, just 33 seconds later, Ryan Donato skated in with a nifty pass from Ryan Hartman and dished a backhand over Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin.
The goal chased Khudobin out of the Stars' net, having allowed four goals in 17 shots, in favor of Ben Bishop. Mats Zuccarello got one past Bishop late in the second for a two-point night.
The Stars never seemed to solve the Wild's solid forecheck. They failed to capitalize on a second-period power play, and Tyler Seguin whiffed on a chance with a net left empty by a scrambling Alex Stalock.
Mattias Janmark had the Stars' best chance of the third, trying to sneak a wrister past Stalock. The goaltender turned away all 27 shots from the Stars.
Zach Parise and Hartman rounded out the scoring in the third, each tallying on the power play to keep the Wild's man-advantage performance perfect in three opportunities. Parise notched his fourth over the last three games, while Hartman scored for the first time in 12 games.
The night spoiled a return to the roster by Stars blueliner Stephen Johns. The loss was his first game back after a 22-month absence due to post-traumatic headaches.
Johns made his presence known with a few big hits, a blocked shot and a couple slap shots.
The Stars take their bruises home to Texas for the All-Star break, while center Tyler Seguin heads to St. Louis for the NHL festivities.
The Wild have two home games left before the break, Monday against the Florida Panthers and Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings.
--Field Level Media