Game Seventy-Seven, the New York Rangers at the Minnesota Wild
Season Series: 1-0-0, Rangers
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The New York Rangers will look to slow down the red hot Minnesota Wild tonight, and will also attempt to clinch their spot atop of the Metropolitan division. With the Pittsburgh Penguins losing last night in regulation, any combination of two points tonight will clinch the Metro division, and guarantee the Rangers at least two rounds with home-ice advantage.
The Wild certainly aren't a team that should be taken lightly either, especially with the spectacular run Devan Dubnyk has been on over the past few months. Through 34 games this season with the Wild, Dubnyk has only lost six times, while leading the Wild to victory on 26 separate occasions. He's certainly going to be in top form tonight, and the Rangers will need to make it tough on him from the opening puck drop.
Just like the Rangers, the Wild are sitting comfortably in playoff position, but their spot isn't officially locked up just yet. As it stands right now, they are only three points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for third place in the Central division, and have a nice five point cushion on the Winnipeg Jets. In other words, the Wild still have plenty to play for before the playoff start, and the Rangers should be expecting to receive their best game.
It may be a difficult game, but if the Rangers go back to how they were playing before this little slump, they will certainly get their chances.
New York Rangers April Schedule
Bryan's Player to Watch: Martin St. Louis
Martin St. Louis will be making his return to the lineup after missing the past eight games with a leg injury. Tonight, Alain Vigneault has him paired on the third line with Kevin Hayes, and Carl Hagelin, which has been a fairly dominant duo over the last few weeks. It will be interesting to see how St. Louis not only responds returning from his injury, but also how he feeds off of his new linemates.
Enjoy the game everyone!