The best team in the NHL was no match for the hottest team in the Western Conference Thursday night as the Minnesota Wild went into Tampa Bay and blanked the Lightning 3-0.
Jason Zucker scored his second career hat trick and Devan Dubnyk was a brick wall in net with
"The focus from start to finish was great," Dubnyk said, via Wild.com. "Every line that came on the ice, I can't think of one shift that, whether we were in their end, the neutral zone or our end, we weren't just dialed and making big plays."
Tampa Bay leads the NHL in points by a mile (107), tops the league goal differential and has the best penalty kill in the league. But Minnesota, at least for one night, was the better team.
It's just the sixth regulation loss all season for Tampa Bay and their first since Jan. 17.
Minnesota is 6-0-2 and on a season best eight-game point streak. With 74 points they still control the second wild-card spot, three points ahead of Arizona and just one point behind Dallas for the top wild card.
Zucker's first goal came on a tip off a shot by Ryan Donato in the first period. He made it 2-0 just past the six-minute mark of the third when he backhanded a rebound out of mid-air, and his third goal came with 1:46 to go as he fired a puck from center ice into an empty net.
The Wild's hot streak now includes impressive road wins over some of the NHL's top teams, including Tampa Bay, Calgary and Winnipeg, a big home win over St. Louis and two shootout losses to Nashville.
Up next: Wild at Florida Panthers Friday at 6 p.m.