After an impressive 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Rangers will travel to Minnesota to take on The Minnesota Wild in their home opener (8:00 P.M. ET, TNT).

RangersNHL RankingsWild
9thNHL Standing RankN/A

Previous Game

The Rangers are coming off a commanding 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the rematch of the Eastern Conference Final from last season. The Blueshirts go two goals from Mika Zibanejad and a redirection goal from Barclay Goodrow. Igor Shesterkin was solid in net making 25 saves on 26 shots. The only Lightning goal came from Steven Stamkos on a one timer during a 5-3 power play for the Lightning.

The only bad news from the game was that the Blueshirts lost Vitaly Kravtsov to an upper-body injury. Kravtsov won’t make the trip for the upcoming back-to-back in central North America.


The Blueshirts will travel to Minnesota to take on the Wild. The Rangers won’t have Kravtsov nor will they have Sammy Blais. Blais however did make the trip and could be available for Friday night’s game against Winnipeg. But with the Rangers shorthanded on the right side, they will need their depth to step up. Alexis Lafreniere will likely shift to the right side and continue to play with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck. Lafreniere opened on the left side with Filip Chytil and Goodrow, but was quickly moved up in the lineup after the injury to Kravtsov.

Dryden Hunt will make his season debut on the fourth line with Ryan Carpenter and Ryan Reaves. Hunt was deployed throughout the lineup last season by head coach Gerard Gallant and could be moved up the lineup if things don’t go according to plan. Hunt often played with Panarin last season and the line produced despite Hunt not recording many points.

Despite the season being at its infant stage, the Blueshirts are in a tricky back-to-back and need to bring their game. Although games vs the western conference isn’t considered “must win” games, the Rangers want to get off to a good start to the season and bank points as early as possible incase of a bad stretch later in the season. Injuries will come at some point as they do to all teams, and it is important while the main core is healthy to bank points. These won’t be easy games and will be an early test for the Rangers.


To make the back-to-back even trickier, the Blueshirts are changing time zones and taking on a rested Wild team who are eager to get their season started. Minnesota was eliminated last season in the first round of the playoffs by the St. Louis Blues. They finished last season with 113 points which was three more than the Rangers.

The Wild had a mostly quiet offseason, but they made a couple of key moves that has shaped the team for years to come. Prior to last season, they bought out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter which means they has 12.7 million in dead cap space. They also had to cut ties with some key players they just simply couldn’t afford including Cam Talbot and Kevin Fiala.

Minnesota acquired veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury prior to the trade deadline last season to help solidify the goaltending entering the playoffs. Although Talbot was good friends with Fleury, the former Rangers netminder is entering the final year of his contract and will want to play as many games as possible. The signing allegedly didn’t sit well with Talbot and he was traded to Ottawa just days later.

Fiala was traded to Los Angeles in exchange for Brock Faber and the 19th overall pick in last year’s draft. The 26-year-old recorded 85 points last season including 33 goals for Minnesota. Fiala was a big part of the Wild’s offense last season and they will have to fill the void.

Minnesota will be hoping for a great season from Matthew Boldy. The 21-year-old recorded 39 points in 47 games last year and they will be hoping he can be a point-per game player. The Wild had career seasons from Ryan Hartman, Frederik Gaudreau, and Joel Eriksson Ek. Hartman’s previous career high was just 31 points and he finished last season with 65 points. Gaudreau recorded 44 points last season while his previous career high was 10 points. Gaudreau had just 18 career points prior to the 2021-2022 season. And Eriksson Ek had 49 points as he continues his career development. The Wild are going to need these three players to continue to produce and prove it was not a fluke of a season or they may be one of the teams with the most regression this season.

The main offensive scoring threat for the Wild is Kirill Kaprizov who has exploded onto the scene as one of the best forwards in the NHL. Kaprizov recorded 108 points last season and was just three goals shy of a 50-goal season. Former Ranger Mats Zuccarello is loving life in Minnesota and he recorded 79 points last season. Zuccarello is a pass first player and he had 55 assists last year. With the Wild getting the last change, expect Zac Jones and Braden Schneider to get tested playing against some of the Wild’s best players.

Goaltender Duel

Fleury is expected to get the start for the Wild in their home opener. Fleury is no stranger to the Blueshirt faithful as he spent 13 seasons as a member of divisional foe – the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With the Rangers playing in a back-to-back expect Shesterkin and Jaroslav Halak to split the games. It’s currently unknown who will play tonight.

Projected Starting Lineup










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