Marek Zidlicky, Alex Kovalev

Devils acquire Zidlicky for Foster, Palmieri, Veilleux and picks

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The primary complaint among New Jersey Devils fans is that they believe Marek Zidlicky costs too much – which is pretty reasonable since they’re trying to re-sign Zach Parise and have that pesky bankruptcy thing to deal with.

As it turns out, it will also cost the Devils a big package, even if it’s more about quantity than quality.

The New Jersey Devils confirmed that they sent the Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster, young forward Nick Palmieri, winger Stephane Veilleux, a 2012 second-round pick and a conditional 2013 third round pick for Zidlicky. (Stay tuned for the conditions of that third-rounder.)

Devils angle

New Jersey is likely banking on the fact that Zidlicky was once a second or third-tier talent among offensive defensemen. (That’s not meant as an insult, by the way.) The Devils’ defense isn’t what it once was, so the hope is that he could push a hot team to true contender status.

Again, the sticking point for some is that he has one more season on his deal, with a $4 million cap hit in 2012-13. (Naturally, the flip side is that the Devils might be glad he has that extra year if he ends up being a big success.)

Lamoriello keeps upping the ante in Martin Brodeur’s swan song years, but he’s frequently done his boldest work around trade deadlines anyway.

(OK, his boldest work usually involved compulsively firing head coaches, but you know what I mean.)

Update: 22-year-old Nick Palmieri hasn’t been a smash-hit in his career so far, but the 79th pick of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft makes the deal a little sweeter for the Wild. His ceiling seems limited, but perhaps he’ll flourish in a change of scenery.

Beyond potentially giving the Wild a solid piñata swing or two in the next two drafts, it’s also a deal that is soaking with nostalgia.

source: APAfter a couple cups of coffee with the Atlanta Thrashers, Foster truly started his NHL career with the Wild as he spent parts of four seasons (2005-06 to 08-09) in Minnesota before a catastrophic injury nearly ended his career. (It also rightfully heated up the “Let’s get rid of dopey old touch-up icing” debates).

Foster’s bounced around the NHL since then, with stops in Tampa Bay, Anaheim, Edmonton and New Jersey. His value is iffy because of defensive flaws, but he has great size and a formidable slap shot. It’s hard to be too tough on him because his mere presence in the NHL is pretty inspiring in itself.

Veilleux also enjoyed some of his best days with Minnesota. The 30-year-old forward played parts of six seasons with the Wild before bouncing back and forth from the Lightning/Devils and the minors.

Perhaps Foster might find his footing again in the place he enjoyed his greatest successes, but I’d guess the best takeaways are the picks and merely getting something for a long-time defenseman who went sour with Mike Yeo in power.

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I’d say Wild GM Chuck Fletcher did pretty well while Lamoriello rolled the dice in an interesting way, but what do you think? Fire away, hockey fans – particularly those of the Wild and Devils.

Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 15: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers shares a laugh with teammate Antti Raanta #32 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 7-2 in NHL action on November 15, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.

Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).

Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:

Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.

Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01:  Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the go ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.

For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.

They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.

Columbus is now at 16-5-4, giving them 36 standings points. They’re once again in breathing distance of leading the Metro Division when you consider games in hand.

Update: Here’s how the standings look after the Rangers beat the Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

That’s a stout division, and the Blue Jackets remain shockingly effective. Then again, with results like these over and over again, it might be time to merely expect such impressive work.

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For Detroit, it was a rough night. Jonathan Ericsson couldn’t play, Mike Green was a little banged up and Petr Mrazek was pulled for Jimmy Howard. This goal summarized some of their struggles:

Blues blaze through Devils, even in New Jersey

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Brad Hunt #77, Robby Fabbri #15 and Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues celebrate Fabri's first period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.

On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.

It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.

This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.

That’s impressive stuff.

This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:

The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”

Oh yeah, don’t forget about Jake Allen, either.

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Update: The Wild were able to shake off that goal, ultimately beating the Oilers 3-2 via a shootout.