The New York Rangers got a huge lump of goal in their road game stockings in their final away trip prior to the brief Christmas break.
The Rangers will nonetheless get a chance to end their pre-Christmas slate on the right note, taking on the red hot Minnesota Wild at Madison Square Garden (7:00, MSG).
The Rangers‘ coal came in the form of a brutal 7-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena. New York (23-11-1) fell behind 1-0 in the first period, but cut the lead in half with a goal by Matt Peumpel, his second as a Ranger. After falling behind 3-1 after two periods, Michael Grabner was able to cut the lead in half with his 14th goal of the season and first in eight games, but the Rangers were outplayed for the remainder of the final frame, outshot 17-4 and giving up four more goals in a 7-2 defeat.
The Wild (20-8-4) enter red hot, having won nine in a row, including a 4-2 decision over Montreal last night at Bell Centre. Ex-Ranger Eric Staal, who earned Third Star of the Week honors from the NHL for his efforts in contributing to the active win streak, broke a 2-2 tie with a shorthanded breakaway goal, the game winner in the victory.
This will be the first of two meetings between the Rangers and Wild this season, with each team defending their home ice in victory in the pair last season. In the Madison Square Garden game on February 4, the Rangers made up a 2-0 deficit, with Ryan McDonagh, JT Miller and Chris Kreider contributing to the scoring en route to a 4-2 victory. The two teams will face off in Minnesota on March 18.