Lamoriello won’t ‘tear it down’ in New Jersey

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Even with the oldest roster in the NHL, and even with that old roster languishing near the bottom of the league standings, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello doesn’t think a full rebuild is the right way to go in New Jersey.

“I don’t think you tear it down by any means; that’s not in the philosophy of this organization nor do I think that’s something that can be done in this day and age,” Lamoriello said, per the club’s website.

Instead, he believes the Devils are in a “transition” phase, with a young defense corps that’s going to need time to develop.

“Unfortunately one of our young defenseman [Damon Severson] gets hurt but that’s nobody’s fault,” he said. “They are growing and gaining experience and in the big picture it’s going to be something that’s a foundation. … When our young defense gets more mature, it will help us create offensively.”

That may be true. What’s more, when “transitioning” a team, it can be smart to develop the young defensemen first, then bring in the young forwards, who typically take less time to make a positive impact at the NHL level. (In Chicago, for example, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were drafted before Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.)

But it’s also true that the Devils have few, if any, blue-chip forward prospects. In fact, they haven’t drafted a forward with a pick below No. 20 since Zach Parise was selected 17th overall in 2003. Surely there’s a relation between that and the Devils’ roster today. And surely it’s a concern going forward, even with the opportunity to maybe draft Connor McDavid in June.

Related: Canucks trusting rookie Horvat with some tough assignments

Wild lose 2nd-leading goalscorer Zucker (broken collarbone) for three months

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The Minnesota Wild received some tough injury news on Tuesday, as the club announced Jason Zucker would be sidelined for three months with a broken collarbone.

Zucker, who sits second to Zach Parise on the team in goals (18 to Parise’s 21), was hurt during Monday’s 5-3 win over the Canucks. This marks his second major injury in as many years; last season, he required tendon surgery on his right quadriceps that prematurely his the campaign.

Zucker’s offense will be missed. The Wild are a mediocre goalscoring team to begin with — currently ranked 17th in the NHL in goals for — and he’s the club’s top sniper at even strength. All but one of his goals have come at evens this season, putting him in a tie for 10th-most in the NHL.

NHL on NBCSN: Wild test turnaround against Blackhawks

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Minnesota Wild host the Chicago Blackhawks at the Xcel Energy Center at 8:00 p.m. ET today. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

The Minnesota Wild have been showing serious promise lately, but that progress will be tested on Tuesday as they face the Chicago Blackhawks.

A challenge amid a promising start

Assuming he gets the nod, the Blackhawks will test Devan Dubnyk, who is 5-1-0 as a member of the Wild since being traded from the Arizona Coyotes. For all the impressive work the 28-year-old goalie has done in his short stay with Minnesota, it’s worth noting that his wins have come against borderline playoff teams (Calgary, Vancouver) and squads that have often been downright dismal (Edmonton, Arizona).

What happens when Dubnyk and the Wild face one of the best teams (not to mention scoring attacks) in the NHL?

Blackhawks may not be at their best

Chicago is in the middle of a six-game road trip (seven if you count the game before the All-Star break) and (uh oh) just spent two days “bonding” in Las Vegas, so perhaps the Blackhawks are a little more vulnerable than usual. Going 6-7-0 in January argues that they’re not at their absolute best.

That’s good news for Minnesota, as Chicago has handled the season series so far, winning the first three games between these teams by a combined score of 13-6. Niklas Backstrom was in net for all those defeats, so the ‘Hawks will probably get a different look assuming Dubnyk starts this time around.

Daniel Carcillo is eligible to return from his latest suspension in this game. Ultimately, one would assume that the contest is more likely to come down to what stars like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter can accomplish.

Suter, for one, has been pretty banged up lately.

***

After some tough times, the Wild have at least a glimpse of optimism, but the Blackhawks serve as a useful measuring stick for how realistic their ambitions might be. It should be an intriguing game to watch on NBCSN tonight, then.

Wild extend win streak to three games with victory over the Canucks

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The Minnesota Wild stretched their win streak to three games with a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday afternoon.

The Wild have now picked up wins in five of their last seven games.

Zach Parise, Jared Spurgeon and Thomas Vanek gave the Wild a 3-0 lead.

Jason Zucker added an empty netter with 55 seconds remaining. Mikael Granlund had two assists in the win.

Devan Dubnyk made 35 saves to improve to 5-1-0 with a .935 save percentage since being acquired by the Wild on Jan. 14.

Canucks rookie Ronalds Kenins scored his first career NHL goal. Daniel Sedin had the other Vancouver goal.

Adam Clendening, who was acquired by Vancouver from Chicago on Thursday, played 19:03 in his Canucks debut.

Ryan Miller made 16 saves in the loss.

Vancouver has now lost four of five on home ice and three of four overall.

Goalie nods: Dubnyk goes again for Wild in key game vs. Flames

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All the latest from the blue paint…

All Devan, all the time

Devan Dubnyk has been the goalie of record for Minnesota since coming over from Arizona two weeks ago, and that won’t change tonight when the Wild face the Flames in Calgary.

Dubnyk, who’s posted a .911 save percentage and 2.04 GAA in five games, is coming off a 2-1 win over Edmonton in which he stopped 23 of 24 shots. He’ll need a similar performance tonight if the 12th-place Wild want to stay within striking distance of the eighth-place Flames, who are currently seven points up in the standings:

For Calgary, Jonas Hiller starts in goal.

Elsewhere…

Bruins at Isles: Jaroslav Halak for New York, Tuukka Rask likely for Boston.

Habs at Rangers: Carey Price vs. Henrik Lundqvist

Jets at Flyers: Michael Hutchinson vs. Steve Mason

Jackets at Panthers: Curtis McElhinney vs. Roberto Luongo

Wings at Bolts: Petr Mrazek vs. Ben Bishop

Stars at Sens: Robin Lehner for Ottawa, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.

Coyotes at Leafs: Mike Smith vs. Jonathan Bernier

Preds at Blues: Carter Hutton vs. Brian Elliott

Sabres at Oilers: Jhonas Enroth vs. Ben Scrivens

Ducks at Sharks: Ilya Bryzgalov likely for Anaheim, Antti Niemi likely for San Jose.