New York Rangers (48-21-7) at Minnesota Wild (44-25-7)
|Date & Time||Thursday April 2, 2015, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Minnesota Wild -123 / New York Rangers +111 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
Things haven’t been going well for the New York Rangers over the last week, but the club is hoping that Tuesday’s match in Winnipeg was a turning point.
New York knew coming in that they were going to face another difficult challenge from an opponent that was fighting for a playoff berth, and that’s exactly what they got. The Jets were all over the place in the early going of this game, and they jumped out in front of the Rangers 1-0 just 3:16 into the opening period.
The Rangers were respond, evening things up on Mats Zuccarello’s 15th goal of the season, but Winnipeg was the aggressor much of the night in this game.
Ex-Ranger Lee Stempniak, traded by the Blueshirts at the deadline, scored early in the second period to give the Jets back their one goal lead. Derick Brassard would convert midway through the period for his 17th goal of the season with the Rangers on the power play.
These two clubs remained tied throughout the third period until Chris Kreider took a pass at center ice from J.T. Miller in stride. Kreider used his blazing speed to beat the one defender who had a chance to make a play on him, then deeked Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec before scoring the eventual game winner.
It was just another example of how lethal this Rangers team is on most nights and how quickly they can hurt you with their transition game. That has been a staple since Alain Vigneault took over and the players that are in New York now are very adept at moving the puck.
Thursday night the Rangers will have another stiff test in front of them as they head to Minnesota to take on the best goaltender in the National League at the moment.
Devan Dubnyk has been nothing short of sensational since being acquired by the Minnesota Wild, and it looks like Dubnyk will have an opportunity to lead this team into the post season.
That’s bad news for a team like the Nashville Predators who could be Minnesota’s first round opponent. The Predators have struggled in the second half and split the first four games that the clubs have played this season, with one more meeting coming on April 9.
Minnesota has won five straight games coming into Thursday night’s match up with the Rangers and have been off since Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
Nino Niederreiter and Mikko Koivu each scored twice for the Wild and Dubnyk made 32 saves to propel them to another victory. Minnesota is now seven points ahead of Los Angeles with six games remaining in the season for each team.
A layoff like the one the Wild just had might not have been welcome given how good they’ve played recently. New York looked like they found their game a little bit on Tuesday against Winnipeg and this should be a pretty even game that’s played at a high pace by two really good clubs on Thursday night.