May 7, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT
Minnesota forward Jason Zucker played in just 26 NHL games before the Wild’s first-round series started, but if not for him, his team might be on the brink of elimination going into Game 4 tonight.
Zucker netted the winner in overtime on Sunday to reduce the Blackhawks series lead to 2-1.
The 21-year-old forward is still growing as a player, but he gives teammate Matt Cullen, 36, a lot of for getting him this far.
“More than you guys even know, he’s been unbelievable all year,” Zucker told NHL.com. “I have to give him a ton of credit for my development.”
Cullen was asked if he ever saw himself eventually becoming a mentor when he first made it into the NHL.
“You don’t ever really think about it, it just happens so fast,” Cullen said. “I still remember being a rookie in Anaheim with Kariya and Selanne. It goes so fast, but it’s been a fun run.”
Cullen’s career isn’t done yet. He had seven goals and 27 points in 42 regular season games and has added another three assists in this first-round series. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but he should be able to land another contract after the season like that.
Here’s a video of Zucker’s game-winning goal, which Cullen got an assist on:
- Going the distance: Isles edge Caps to force Game 7 15
- Everything happens: Ovechkin nails Tavares, Isles score 13
- WATCH LIVE: Today’s Stanley Cup playoff action 6
- Lucic issues statement on father’s passing 9
- Hall caught off guard by Oilers’ front office shuffle 17
- Wild’s Dubnyk shakes off six-goal night, saves 36 as Blues pushed to brink 33
- WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action 5
- Malkin: ‘I want to say sorry to fans, to my teammates’ 57
- It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime 106
- Sens’ Anderson continues to haunt Habs, forces Game 6 12
- Of course they did: Oilers win 2015 NHL Draft Lottery, will select first overall (174)
- Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead (114)
- It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime (106)
- Eichel understands Murray’s disappointment, but ‘extreme competitor’ has ‘a lot to offer’ (98)
- Bettman under fire after saying ‘Katy Perry’ chant wasn’t sexist (91)