The New York Rangers did not fare very well this evening at Madison Square Garden and were defeated 4-1 by the Minnesota Wild. This now marks the Rangers’ sixth straight loss in regulation since beating the Winnipeg Jets back on February 11. With all of the uncertainty surrounding the team with potential roster shakeups, the Rangers had a bit of positive news tonight with Chris Kreider returning to the lineup.
Kreider had missed the previous 24 games after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his arm a few days after Christmas. It was an overall scary situation and seeing him return to this ice this evening was a great sight. The game, however, was not much of a pretty sight with the Rangers only registering 23 shots on goal in regulation.
Mikael Granlund opened the scoring for the Minnesota Wild late in the first period following a miscue behind the net by Tony DeAngelo. Eric Staal was able to quickly transition the turnover into the high slot and Granlund snapped the puck past Alexander Georgiev. A little over two minutes later, Eric Staal cashed in on his own opportunity after deflecting home a ridiculous behind-the-back pass from Zach Parise to make it a 2-0 lead for the Wild.
The Rangers finally stopped the onslaught early in the second period with Jesper Fast converting on a beautiful cross-ice feed from J.T. Miller. Devan Dubnyk almost slid across the crease to stop the chance, but Fast kept the puck on the ice and made it a 2-1 game. At that point it appeared as if the Rangers were finally turning the corner, but the Wild came storming back in the third period to take control of the game once again.
Eric Staal picked up his second goal of the game just 52 seconds into the third period on yet another deflection in front of Georgiev, and the Wild took a 3-1 lead. Mikael Granlund also added his second goal of the night just nine minutes later on a 2-on-1, and snapped the puck past Georgiev on the glove side.
The Rangers weren’t able to generate much of anything during the second half of the third period, and went down by a final score of 4-1. The Rangers will have one more game scheduled before Monday’s trade deadline on Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings. It will also be a pretty special night at Madison Square Garden with the Rangers honoring long-time great Jean Ratelle and raising his number to the MSG rafters forever.