Wild aim for 3rd straight win vs. Rangers

(SportsNetwork.com) – The Minnesota Wild will shoot for their first three-game
winning streak of the season when they visit the New York Rangers for Monday’s
clash at Madison Square Garden.

The Wild have won four of six games to begin the season. Mike Yeo’s club
started 2-0, then lost two straight in regulation before notching recent home
victories over Arizona and Tampa Bay.

Minnesota improved to 3-0 on home ice with Saturday’s impressive rout of the
Tampa Bay Lightning. Jason Zucker netted two goals to help the Wild cruise
past the Bolts, 7-2. The Wild hope to carry the momentum into tonight’s test
on the road, but the club is just 1-2-0 as the visiting team this season.

The Wild scored four times on eight shots in the first period and had six
different players — Zucker, Zach Parise, Marco Scandella, Mikko Koivu, Erik
Haula and Jared Spurgeon — light the lamp.

“We have a good team here. Good chemistry,” Scandella said. “We just have to
keep it going.”

Darcy Kuemper, fresh off his third shutout of the season in Thursday’s 2-0 win
over Arizona, only needed to make 17 saves in the blowout victory. Kuemper
expects to start tonight and won his only career outing against the Rangers,
stopping 29-of-30 shots in a 2-1 home victory on March 13.

Wild defensemen Keith Ballard and Christian Folin missed Saturday’s test with
flu-like symptoms and also will sit out tonight.

Minnesota is playing two straight on the road beginning tonight and will visit
the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

The Rangers hope to get back in the win column Monday after having their
longest winning streak of the season snapped on Saturday. New York had won
three in a row before dropping a 3-1 decision in Montreal, as the Canadiens
exacted a small measure of revenge for last spring’s loss in the Eastern
Conference finals.

In the first meeting between Montreal and the Rangers since last year’s
Eastern Conference finals, Carey Price turned away 34-of-35 shots to anchor
his Canadiens in victory. Price, of course, sustained a knee injury in Game 1
of the 2014 East finals and missed the remainder of the series.

Only Carl Hagelin was able to beat Price on Saturday, scoring a first-period
goal to tie the score at 1-1. Meanwhile, Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist
couldn’t match Price’s performance, finishing with 27 saves.

“As far as the goalies are concerned, their’s was better than ours,” Rangers
head coach Alain Vigneault remarked. “We didn’t have a second chance to score
against Price.”

Lundqvist and the Rangers hopes to bounce back this evening in NYC. The club’s
star goaltender expects to start tonight and is 3-3-0 with a 2.76 goals
against average in six career games versus Minnesota.

The Rangers begin a home-heavy portion of their schedule tonight, as the club
is scheduled to play four straight and seven of their next eight at MSG. New
York has 2-2-0 records at both home and on the road in 2014-15.

Minnesota halted a two-game skid against the Rangers last March, but New York
has won three of the past five encounters. The Blueshirts also have claimed
three of the last four meetings in the Big Apple.