Kuemper, Zucker lead the Minnesota Wild past the Detroit Red Wings
Kuemper was not preparing to start the game until Niklas Backstrom was unable to play because of the flu late with five minutes remaining warmups.
"It was almost good finding out last minute," Kuemper said. "There's no time to get nervous."
Zucker turned a one-goal deficit into a tie game at the 13:13 mark of the second period for his first career NHL goal.
"I just tried getting the puck out of the zone at first," he said. "I just kept skating. I was kind of surprised there was no one in front of me. I actually thought about passing to (Devin Setoguchi) and just tried getting the puck on net and it happened to go in for me."
However, passing is not one of his stronger skills.
"I'm not exactly a passer," Zucker said. "I'm trying to get the puck on net and limit my passing."
The Wild (7-6-2) took the lead for good just 32 seconds later when Torrey Mitchell scored his first goal as a member of the Wild. He found his way to a loose puck during a scramble off a face off and beat Petr Mrazek with a quick shot.
It was the second time in the game Mrazek was beat on a shot he could not see.
The Red Wings (7-6-2) jumped out to the early lead and took a two-goal lead early in the second period, but could not keep the momentum.
"We had a real good start," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I don't what happened in between (the first and second periods). We made some mistakes right from the start for them to get momentum. We never generated much after that."
The Wild pulled into a tie for eighth in the Western Conference with the Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes. All three have identical records, but the Wild lose the tiebreaker to both due to non-shootout wins.
No. 3 – Torrey Mitchell. The Wild forward scored his first goal as a member of the Wild for the game-winner.
No. 2 – Darcy Kuemper. The Wild goaltender stopped 29 shots to get his first career NHL win.
No. 1 – Jason Zucker. The Wild forward scored his first career NHL goal to tie the game.
Detroit 1 1 0 – 2
Minnesota 0 3 0 – 3
First Period – 1, Detroit, Brunner 7 (Datsyuk, Zetterberg) 8:48. Penalties – Andersson, Det (holding), 2:33.
Second Period – 2, Detroit, Datsyuk 7 (Zetterberg, Lashoff), :20. 3, Minnesota, Heatley 5 (Koivu, Parise), 9:35. 4, Minnesota, Zucker 1 (unassisted), 13:13. 5, Minnesota, Mitchell 1 (Granlund), 13:45. Penalties – Setoguchi, Min, double minor, (high sticking), 15:16.
Third Period – None. Penalties – Lashoff, Det (holding), 7:19; Prosser, Min (tripping), 13:47.
Shots on goal – Detroit 14-10-7 31. Minnesota 8-11-5 24.
Goalies – Detroit, Mrazek (21-24). Minnesota, Kuemper (29-31). A – 19,177. Referees – Tom Kowal, Brad Watson. Linesmen – Steve Miller, Mark Shewchyk.