Jason Zucker, Ryan Carter Injured Against Vancouver


The good news: The Minnesota Wild beat the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night to win their sixth straight game. That’s the first time the Wild have had a six-game winning streak since 2006.

The bad news: The team lost both Jason Zucker and Ryan Carter in the loss.

The really bad news: It doesn’t sound like these are short-term injuries. It’s not good news and it’s really bad that the team knew this immediately after the game. Even before Mike Yeo did his post-game press conference, the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo had this tidbit.

After Yeo’s press conference, it sounded worse.

Carter got injured while going hard to the net. He got tripped up and did an uncontrolled slide into the end boards. It looked on the replay like it was his shoulder that hit the boards in an ugly way.

Zucker got checked along the boards and it looked like it just caught him in a weird way and may have also been the shoulder area. He took the check and stayed on the ice, laboring a bit before he was able to make the change.

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Losing both players so early in the game could have had a huge impact on the game. Rather, it did impact the game, but the Wild managed to make sure it wasn’t the story of the game. It shortened the forward group to three lines and a bonus guy.

Lines were juggled throughout the game, but Nino Niederreiter largely took over Zucker’s role on Mikko Koivu‘s line with Jason Pominville. That seems like a logical line to stay in place on Tuesday with Zucker out. It’s an exciting opportunity for Niederreiter. He and Koivu appeared to have some instant chemistry. They even connected on a beautiful give-and-go that got Niederreiter a goal.

The Wild will need to recall a forward with Zucker, Carter, and Matt Cooke out. Jordan Schroeder will stay in the lineup, Justin Fontaine — who was activated off IR on Monday — will draw into the lineup, and then they’ll need to grab a player from Iowa. They’ll likely need someone who can fill into a depth role and play penalty kill since both Zucker and Carter take PK time. That’s probably not Tyler Graovac, unless there’s someone in the lineup already that they think can fill in better on PK than anyone in Iowa. It may be Brett Sutter, especially since the team will look to bring in some toughness as they play one of the league’s bigger teams and lost one of their tougher players in Carter and were already without Cooke.

Since that’s the logic they normally follow, Sutter may be the best case scenario. It’s possible they don’t focus on ice time and the PK role and decide to bring up Stu Bickel to act as — ahem — “policeman” in what is likely to be a physical game. It’s always physical with Winnipeg and they’ll likely be extra physical knowing that the Wild are coming off a game the night before, travelled, and the forwards had to work in some extra minutes since they lost Zucker and Carter so early in the game.

We’ll post an update on the status of Zucker and Carter as soon as more is known.