If only road games counted in the NHL standings, the New York Rangers would be on the top of the league.
The Rangers will look to improve on their league-best road record tonight, when they venture to St. Paul to take on the Minnesota Wild (7:00, MSG).
The Rangers (44-24-3) are coming off back-to-back losses, against a pair of Floridian teams, including last night’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden, where they’re 0-4-2 in their past six. Mats Zuccarello scored a pair of goals for the Rangers, his first multi-goal game since October, including one that tied the game in the latter stages of the third period, but the Rangers couldn’t handle the line consisting of Jaromir Jagr, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. Huberdeau and Barkov had a goal each, the primary assist on each goal coming from Jagr, while Barkov added the lone goal in the subsequent shootout.
Meanwhile, the Wild (43-20-6) are challenging the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division. Currently three points behind Chicago, they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. Mikael Granlund scored the lone goal for the Wild, who were done in by two third period goals.
This will be the second and final meeting between the Rangers and Wild this season, with Minnesota taking the first matchup at MSG by a 7-4 final back on December 23. The Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal by Chris Kreider, but Minnesota tied it up before the period ended, before taking the lead for good with goals by Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter in the first minute of the second. Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan also had goals for the Rangers, while Kreider added one more in the third.