Minnesota Wild Gameday Preview: New York Rangers
The Minnesota Wild will try to turn the page on a rough weekend that saw them drop both games of a back-to-back against the Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues.
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Tonight they head to Maddison Square Garden to face the New York Rangers for the second and final time this season. The first game between these two teams was the Wild’s season opener on Oct.13, when they got dropped 7-3, and Artemi Panarin collected four points. The Wild’s overall game has come a considerable way since then, especially in the net, and should provide fans with a much tighter game tonight.
Looking at the last 10 games, both teams have played similarly, which could result in a game that both teams will have to fight hard to win. The Rangers are 6-2-2 in their last ten, good for 14 points, and have an impressive 35 goals over that span, with four or more goals in six of those contests. Comparatively, the Wild are 6-3-1 with 13 points, scoring 34 goals over that span but have managed four or more goals in seven of those games. Both teams are coming off losses, so there should be plenty of motivation for both sides.
Wild Projected Lineup
Kirill Kaprizov – Sam Steel – Mats Zuccarello
Jordan Greenway – Joel Eriksson Ek – Marcus Foligno
Matt Boldy – Frederick Gaudreau – Ryan Hartman
Brandon Duhaime – Connor Dewar – Ryan Reeves
Jake Middleton – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin – Matt Dumba
Jon Merrill – Calen Addison
Marc-Andre Fleury – Filip Gustavsson
Related: Minnesota Wild’s Top 3 Prospects From the 2023 World Juniors
Latest News & Highlights
Rangers Projected Lineup
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Kaapo Kakko
Artemi Panarin – Vincent Trochek – Vitali Kravtsov
Alexis Lafreniere – Filip Chytil – Jimmy Vesey
Jonny Brodzinski – Barclay Goodrow – Julien Gauthier
Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller – Jacob Trouba
Ben Harpur – Braden Schneider
Igor Shesterkin – Jaroslav Halak
Players to Watch
Minnesota Wild – Mats Zuccarello
Only two players on the Wild’s roster have hit the 40-point mark this season, Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello’s production can not be understated as he has also been a catalyst on the first line with Steel and Kaprizov as one of the game’s most elite playmakers. Zuccarello was out for the past two games with an upper-body injury, and that line did not have that same impact in the offensive zone without him, even with budding star Matt Boldy getting his shot at a bigger role.
With Zuccarello back in the lineup tonight against his former squad, there should be a noticeable increase in the quality of play from that top line. He is close to being a point-per-game player for the second season in a row at 35 years old, while Kaprizov is nearing his 100th career goal after only 175 games played; a large part of that can be attributed to having Zuccarello on his wing, and their reunion tonight could be a deciding factor in the outcome of the game.
New York Rangers – Adam Fox
Now in his fourth season in the NHL and in the first year of a seven-year contract worth $9.5 million annually, Adam Fox is cementing himself as one of the best defensemen in the league. The 2021 Norris Trophy winner has 203 points in 244 career games and is well on his way to becoming a point-per-game player this season with 40 points (seven goals and 33 assists) in 41 games. Averaging 25 minutes of ice time per game, Fox will be a major obstacle as the Wild will not only have to shut down his offense but also get passed him to beat Shesterkin in net.
Tonight’s matchup can be found on Bally Sports North and KFan 100.3FM beginning at 6:00 CT.
*Player statistics collected from Naturalstattrick.com, Wild lines from @RussoHockey on Twitter, and Rangers lines from @MollieeWalkerr on Twitter.
Being from the east coast of Canada, I’ve grown up immersed in hockey since before I was old enough to walk. The Minnesota Wild joined the league right as I was trying to find a favourite team and I have been committed to them ever since. I like to take breaks from my day job of writing reports as a Scientist by writing articles about my hockey passion. Follow me on twitter @tysmck15 for my latest.