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Zucker out, Porter in as Wild host Islanders

Minnesota aims for fifth straight win under interim coach Torchetti

by Dan Myers / Correspondent

ISLANDERS (31-19-7) at WILD (27-22-10) 

TV: 8 p.m. ET; MSG+ 2, SNE, SNO, SNP, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV 

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker will not play against the New York Islanders on Tuesday because of an upper-body injury.

Zucker was injured when his head hit the ice after a hit by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival during the second period of their 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game Sunday. 

John Torchetti, who will make his Xcel Energy Center debut as the Wild's interim coach, said Zucker does not have a concussion and will be examined again by a doctor on Wednesday. He is considered day-to-day. 

With Zucker out, Chris Porter will take his place to the left of Mikael Granlund and Thomas Vanek. Porter has been a healthy scratch in each of the past seven games and has three goals and two assists in 48 games this season, playing almost exclusively on the fourth line. 

"Whenever you come back into the lineup, you don't want to change too much," Porter said. "My style of play won't change with them. I'm going to do my best to get them the puck and create some room. They've proven they can score, so I'm going to try and stay out of the way." 

Minnesota is 4-0-0 since Torchetti took over for Mike Yeo on Feb. 13, sweeping a three-game road trip through Western Canada and winning 6-1 against the Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday. 

Minnesota has lost eight straight games (0-5-3) in its home arena to begin the 2016 calendar year. 

"One of the things we want to start doing is winning games at home," Torchetti said. "I know it's been a while since we've won here, so tonight is a good start for us. We [need to] hit reset again; that week is over, we did a good job. It's the NHL, it's a League you better be ready to play to get a win." 

New York will be without defenseman Calvin de Haan (lower body) and forward Mikhail Grabovski (upper body), who are not on the trip, at least to start. Coach Jack Capuano indicated it's possible each player could join the Islanders on their swing through Canada. 

The Islanders plays four straight games north of the border beginning with the Calgary Flames on Thursday. Stops in Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg follow before the Islanders return to play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March 6. 

The Islanders are playing the second of a six-game stretch on the road. But Capuano said the trip is really a five-gamer since the first one was a 1-0 win against the New Jersey Devils on Friday. 

"When you're on the flight, now it feels like you're on that extended road trip," Capuano said. "It's a crucial trip for us. But this is a good Minnesota team, so one game at a time, one period at time, one shift at a time, [we need to] make sure we do the right things." 

With Grabovski out, Capuano said he is likely to juggle things around up front. Josh Bailey is expected to start with John Tavares and Ryan Strome on the Islanders' top line, and Cal Clutterbuck could move up and down the lineup. Steve Bernier will take the open forward spot and play on the fourth line but could also slot up. 

Goaltender Jaroslav Halak will start for the Islanders; Devan Dubnyk will go for the Wild. 

Here are the projected lineups: 

Josh Bailey - John Tavares - Ryan Strome 
Nikolay Kulemin - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo  
Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Cal Clutterbuck 
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Steve Bernier 

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk  
Brian Strait - Travis Hamonic  
Thomas Hickey - Marek Zidlicky  

Jaroslav Halak 
Thomas Greiss  

Injured: Calvin de Haan (lower body), Mikael Grabovski (upper body), Eric Boulton (lower body), Adam Pelech (upper body) 
Scratched: Jean-Francois Berube, Ryan Pulock  

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle  
Chris Porter - Mikael Granlund - Thomas Vanek 
Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville  
Ryan Carter - Jarret Stoll - Justin Fontaine  

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon  
Marco Scandella - Matt Dumba  
Mike Reilly - Christian Folin  

Devan Dubnyk 
Darcy Kuemper  

Injured: Jonas Brodin (broken foot), Jason Zucker (upper body) 
Scratched: Nate Prosser, Niklas Backstrom  

Status update: Pulock, the Islanders' first-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, will not make his NHL debut tonight but Capuano said he will play at some point during the trip. … Brodin could begin skating with the Wild on Thursday, and if all goes well he could return to practice as soon as this weekend. Brodin has not played since Feb. 4. 

Who's hot: Tavares had a seven-game point streak ended against the Devils, but has five goals and six assists over his past eight games. … Haula, the NHL's second star last week, has two goals and five assists in his past four games.

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