ST. PAUL, Minn. Jason Zucker bounced the puck off the boards past Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filpulla and in the defensive zone, hauled in his own pass and then outraced longtime NHL veteran Mikael Samuelsson. In front of him, the Minnesota Wild's rookie forward was surprised to see nothing but open ice between him and the goaltender.
Few players are catching the speedy, 21-year-old Zucker in a race and no one on Detroit was doing so Sunday. After a couple strides, Zucker was at full speed and he finished off a 2-on-1 break by sniping a shot past Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek for his first NHL goal, a day after being called up from the American Hockey League.
"I've seen him do that so many times this year," said Minnesota rookie goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who has spent this season with Zucker on the Houston Aeros of the AHL. "He's got world-class speed. Not many guys can catch him."
Thankfully for the Wild, Zucker adds a shoot-first mentali...