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Preview: Wild looking to shake off losing streak against Rangers

It’s a battle in the Big Apple.

New York Rangers v Minnesota Wild Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild are in the first half of a brutal week of games (five in seven days) and heading to Madison Square Garden for a faceoff against the New York Rangers.

Wild at Rangers

When: 6:00 p.m. CT
Where: Madison Square Garden
Radio: KFAN 100.3 FM

Getting shutout against the St. Louis Blues definitely wasn’t exactly the result we would’ve liked, but we’re going to put it behind us because the Rangers are not messing around this year. They’re a tough team with some good players, and the Wild will have to shake off recent losses to play a good game.

The Rangers are fourth in their division, but with a division as difficult as the Metropolitan is this season, that’s nothing to sneeze at. They’ve got Artemi Panarin with 45 points and Mika Zibanejad right behind with 44 in 41 games, and the 2021-2022 Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin as a goalie.

It’s Ryan Reaves’ first time playing against the Rangers since he was traded on November 29, 2022. Return games are always fun and we’d like to think it might give him a little bit of extra motivation to play well for the Wild tonight.

Projected Wild lineup

Kirill Kaprizov — Sam Steel — Mats Zuccarello
Matt Boldy — Frederick Gaudreau — Ryan Hartman
Jordan Greenway — Joel Eriksson Ek — Marcus Foligno
Brandon Duhaime — Connor Dewar — Ryan Reaves

Jake Middleton — Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin — Matt Dumba
Jon Merrill — Calen Addison

Marc-Andre Fleury is most likely going to be starting in New York after Filip Gustavsson got the nod against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

Mats Zuccarello, Jordan Greenway, and Fleury, were all absent from Sunday’s game at home but are hopefully scheduled to return tonight. Zuccarello had a nagging injury, Greenway was sick, and Fleury was dealing with a personal issue in Montreal; but they have all travelled with the team to MSG and the lineup will become more clear closer to puck drop.

With all these players returning, we’re expecting Mason Shaw to be the odd man out, especially considering the fact that Ryan Reaves will be facing his former team and head coach Dean Evason probably wants him out there for that.

Projected Rangers lineup

Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Kaapo Kakko
Artemi Panarin — Vincent Trocheck — 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 is expected to start in net.

The Rangers have their own dynamic duo on the top line in Kreider and Zibanejad with a combined 74 points in 41 games. Adam Fox also has 40 points, which is a little unusual for a defenseman.

Grab some dinner and settle in for what’s bound to be a chippy game. Puck drop is at 6:00 p.m.

Burning Questions

May the best powerplay unit win!

The Wild currently sits thirteenth in the league for powerplay percentage, with the Rangers coming in right behind at fourteenth. The Wild have been relying on their special teams to get a lot of their points, but will that work in such an equal matchup?

Ryan Reaves Revenge Tour?

Okay, maybe revenge is a little bit of a dramatic word to use, but we’d like to see a clean, successful game against the team that traded him. Hopefully, that’s in the form of some nice plays but you never know. What, if anything, will he do?