ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Jason Zucker and Jason Pominville scored improbable goals to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Darcy Kuemper stopped 18 shots after allowing four goals in each of his last two starts. Minnesota has won seven of 10.
Alex Galchenyuk scored in the final minute after Montreal pulled goalie Carey Price, who made 33 saves. The Canadiens are 1-3-1 in their past five games.
Playing with heavy hearts one day after the death of Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau, the Canadiens dedicated the game to the longtime captain who won 10 Stanley Cup titles as a player and seven more as an executive. All Montreal players wore No. 4 on their helmets.
Other than getting the first six shots of the third period, the Canadiens provided little offense against a team missing its top defenseman, Ryan Suter.
Suter sat out due to illness, marking the first time the NHL leader in ice time has missed a game since joining the Wild on July 4, 2012. He had played in 153 consecutive regular-season games and 18 more in the postseason.
Wild coach Mike Yeo said Suter had “a couple symptoms” that indicate the mumps. The team is awaiting results of blood work done Tuesday.
The mumps has caused, or is believed to have caused, four defensemen — Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, Keith Ballard and Christian Folin — to miss time earlier this season. Their absences ranged from two to eight games.
Zucker gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead 19 seconds into the game when his shot from below the left circle hit Price in the right shoulder and popped up before bouncing in off Price’s backside. It was Zucker’s fourth goal in five games.
A second fluky goal made it 2-0 midway through the second period.
Pominville was stationed behind P.K. Subban and in front of Price when a high wrist shot from Folin neared. As Pominville ducked, the puck deflected off his stick and into the net.
Video replays were inconclusive if Pominville’s stick was at or below the crossbar height when he deflected the puck.
Pominville has two goals in 17 games. The other was scored on Nov. 8 at Montreal.
NOTES: A pregame moment of silence was held in Beliveau’s memory. .. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, in town for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, attended the game. … Montreal has been outscored 23-8 in the first period this season. … The Wild has outshot opponents in 21 of 24 games, totaling a 796-612 advantage. … Minnesota assigned D Justin Falk to AHL Iowa. … Montreal’s four-game trip concludes with games in Chicago on Friday and Dallas on Saturday. The Canadiens won 4-3 in Colorado on Monday.
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