|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 21, 2019
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York Attendance: 17,271
Headed in opposite directions, Wild visit Rangers
Minnesota Wild at New York Rangers
- The Wild have lost five straight games, including back-to-back shutout losses at the hands of the Blues and Ducks on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively. Minnesota has not scored in 156:00 of game time, the fourth-longest scoring drought in franchise history; the regular-season franchise record is 169:47 from March 11-18, 2001.
- The Rangers defeated Carolina, 2-1, on Tuesday to close out a four-game road trip with a 2-2-0 record. They return home where they've allowed an average of 2.63 goals per game compared to 3.93 on the road; that 1.30 difference is the second largest in the NHL (Senators, 1.31).
- Minnesota has taken back-to-back meetings with the Rangers, including a 4-1 win in New York in the last meeting on February 23, 2018. The Wild look to win three straight meetings for the first time in series history, which would be the longest streak by either team since the Rangers won the first five meetings from November 2000 to February 2003.
- Zach Parise has recorded points in each of his last three games against the Rangers and has 39 points (16g, 23a) in 52 career games vs. New York. He and teammate Eric Staal are two of just 15 active skaters with at least 50 career games against the Rangers.
- Jimmy Vesey tallied an assist in the Rangers' win in Carolina, his fourth point in seven games after being held off the scoresheet in each of the previous six. His 15 assists this season are already a season high and his 28 points this season match his career-best total from last season.
- The Wild have allowed 53 goals in the second period this season, fifth fewest in the NHL. The Rangers have allowed 68 goals in the second period this season, tied for the fifth most in the NHL.
- Lightning win, clinch Presidents' Trophy
- Knights pummel Sharks for 9th win in 10
- Canucks end Chicago's 5-game run in OT
- Predators' Watson gains reinstatement
- Connor leads Central-best Jets by Kings
From their reactions following Tuesday night's games, one would think the New York Rangers were on the edge of playoff contention, and the Minnesota Wild were several games out.
But their roles are actually reversed heading into Thursday night's matchup at Madison Square Garden.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau walked out of his postgame news conference after just a couple of questions Tuesday following a 4-0 loss at home to the Anaheim Ducks, his former team.
"I didn't think we paid the price to win. So simple as that. You gotta get to the front of the net. You gotta get the dirty goals," Boudreau said before exiting.
The Wild (27-27-6, 60 points) have lost five consecutive games -- including four at home -- and are 1-6-3 since the All-Star break.
"I guess any way it can go wrong, it will," Wild forward Jason Zucker told NHL.com. "That's what's happening this year."
The Wild have been shut out in back-to-back games, with their scoreless streak reaching 156 minutes, stretching back to a 4-1 second-period lead they blew against the Devils on Friday.
They went 0-for-3 on the power play against Anaheim after going 0-for-5 against St. Louis.
"If we get one on the power play -- we had enough chances -- it's a different game," Wild defenseman Ryan Suter told NHL.com. "But we weren't able to score, and that's kind of the bottom line."
The Wild remained in the Western Conference's second wild-card spot after Tuesday's defeat, but Colorado and Chicago each entered Wednesday's games one point back.
"I still believe in our group," Suter said. "We're just snake-bitten."
The Rangers, on the other hand, are coming off a 2-1 victory Tuesday at Carolina, as goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 43 of 44 shots. It was Lundqvist's 30th career victory against the Hurricanes in 43 games.
"I had to improvise a little bit," Lundqvist told NHL.com. "It worked. It's just a good feeling to win. That's all I want to do."
Vladislav Namestnikov snapped a 1-1 tie 6:10 into the third, and Lundqvist made 18 saves in the period.
"Obviously you want to bounce back from the game we had (on Sunday), a tough loss against the Pens, and come here, a tough building, a division rival," Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad told NHL.com. "We kind of said that after the second going into the third: Just one good period and we'll be able to come out of here with two points.
"I didn't think it was our best period compared to the other games, but we did enough, we got that one goal, and Hankie shut it down."
Still, the victory left New York (26-25-8, 60) nine points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with four teams between them and the final wild-card berth.
"I don't think the chase and the hunt for the playoffs is over by any means for us here in the locker room," Zibanejad told the New York Post. "People outside might say so, but that's up to you guys and up to the rest of the people to think what we should do and what we should not. For us, we just take it game by game. It's that simple. We can't look ahead."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 20, 2019