The New York Rangers (28-23-4) will head west to take on the Minnesota Wild (27-23-6). Their game is scheduled for Thursday night at 7:00 pm. These teams reside in different divisions and conferences, though they’re tied in the league standings with 60 points each. The Wild are currently 5th in the Central Division and 10th in the Western Conference, while the Rangers are 7th in the Metropolitan Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. Thursday’s meeting will be the second of two regular-season meetings between these teams. Their last match was on November 25th, when the Rangers came away with a 3-2 win. The game went into overtime that night after a late period powerplay goal from the Rangers tied things up. Just 32 seconds into overtime the Rangers scored and took home the win.
Rangers Scouting For PointsThere aren’t any easy divisions in the NHL. Each division has its strengths and weaknesses, its skilled teams and its struggling teams. However, the Metropolitan Division is particularly brutal. In almost every other division in the league this season, 60 points would warrant you a 5th place spot at least, but the Metro is unforgiving, and that leaves the Rangers second to last in their division with a 7 point deficit to make up before they can even tie for the next rank up. Of course, the first step to making up that ground is winning, which is exactly what the Rangers have been doing. The team is going into their match against the Wild on a two-game win streak, with their most recent victory being over the Winnipeg Jets. The game against the Jets was the first of a three-game road trip for the Rangers. In that game, the team dominated offensively for a 4-1 victory. The Rangers scored all four of their goals before the Jets were able to get one past rookie goaltender Igor Shesterkin, but that was all the production the Rangers would allow before the final buzzer sounded. Chris Kreider scored both of the lone goals in the first and second periods. The other two Rangers’ goals came in the third from Ryan Strome and Mika Zibanejad. Shesterkin wasn’t the only goaltender in net that night. Veteran Henrik Lundqvist appeared for exactly six minutes and four seconds at the end of the first period after Shesterkin went off the ice. Lundqvist saved the one-shot put on him, and Shesterkin stopped 42 of 43 shots faced.
One-track mind. pic.twitter.com/aHPswuAfAy— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 12, 2020
Wild Hope To Keep Shutout Win MomentumThe Minnesota Wild has started a long climb towards the top of the Central Division. They were previously on the bottom of the division for quite some time, but a recent shakeup in the bottom half of the Central has put them in 5th place. And that 5th place is just three points away from their next closest rival, the Winnipeg Jets. A victory in their game against the Rangers would give them the push that they need to get within striking distance of the Jets. Of course, even if they are able to bypass the Jets, they’ll still have quite a ways to go to pass up the number three team. Nine points, to be exact. They do have a confidence-building win at their back going into Thursday’s showdown. A 4-0 shutout against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday is exactly what they needed after their previous three-game win streak was broken by the Avalanche. All four of the Wild’s goals were scored by different players, though three of the four were scored on the powerplay. Leading the team was Kevin Fiala, who had a goal and two assists. The other three goal scorers were Joel Eriksson Ek, Jared Spurgeon, and Zach Parise. In net for the Wild was Alex Stalock, who stopped all 26 Vegas shots for his third shutout of the season.
- The Wild are 3-5-3 when outshot by their opponent at home.
- The Wild are 6-12-4 overall when trailing after the first period.
- The Rangers are 7-0-2 when leading after the first period on the road.
- The Rangers are 19-8-3 overall when scoring first.