Zucker Returns but Suffers Gruesome Injury in 2nd Period

If it wasn’t bad luck, Jason Zucker would have no luck at all.

The Pittsburgh Penguins winger has hardened injury-filled two-plus seasons since the Penguins acquired him near the 2020 NHL trade deadline. Last season, he suffered a broken leg and missed significant time. This season, he missed the last 30 games due to core muscle surgery, and 37 of the last 38 games with the injury.

On Thursday night, Zucker returned to the Penguins lineup after core muscle surgery in January. His latest Penguins stint lasted about 30 minutes. Midway through the second period, Zucker got a little shove towards the wall from Kevin Fiala and went awkwardly into the wall.

Zucker’s ankle and leg buckled as he hit the wall. TV replays showed Zucker pointing to his knee, in agony.

It was a serious injury.

Two players, including Captain Sidney Crosby, helped Zucker off the ice.

As Jason Zucker lay writhing in pain, the Pittsburgh Penguins scored their third goal. Crosby and newly acquired Rickard Rakell completed a two-on-one when Crosby set up Rakell for his second goal of the game, and third goal since being acquired at the NHL trade deadline.

The Pittsburgh Penguins led 3-2 after 40 minutes, and each team took four penalties.

Zucker played his first game in Minnesota since the Penguins acquired him near the 2020 NHL trade deadline. Zucker played nine seasons with Minnesota. He earned an assist one minute into the game when Rickard Rakell deflected John Marino’s shot. It was Zucker’s 14th point (6-18-14) in 32 games this season.

Officials did not call a penalty on Fiala.

Update: “I don’t have anything for you as far as where we are at. He is being evaluated as we speak. I feel for him. He’s worked so hard at this point and I knew this game was an important one for him,” head coach Mike Sullivan said following the game.

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