Thanks to Some Home Cooking, Wild Will Tame Rangers

Matthew Jordan

Monday, February 12, 2018 6:03 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 6:03 PM UTC

The New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild are battling for wild-card spots as they meet for the first time this season Tuesday with an 8 p.m. ET puck drop in the Twin Cities.

New York Rangers at Minnesota WildFree NHL Pick: WildBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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A busy 12-game slate on Tuesday’s NHL schedule – I’m still perturbed the pros aren’t over in South Korea competing for their countries in the Winter Olympics – and the Rangers-Wild matchup from St. Paul begins at 8 p.m. ET with no national TV; you can catch it if you have NHL Center Ice.

Last year, these teams split with each winning on the road. It was 7-4 for the Wild at Madison Square Garden. Mikko Koivu, Nino Niederreiter and Marco Scandella scored in a 5-minute span early in the second period to chase New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who allowed four goals overall on just 13 shots. Charlie Coyle was the game’s No. 1 star with a goal and three assists. Darcy Kuemper was in net for Minnesota and Chris Kreider scored twice for the Blueshirts. New York outshot Minnesota 31-20.

At the Xcel Energy Center, the Rangers won 3-2. Oscar Lindberg had a goal and an assist, and No. 2 netminder Antti Raanta made 25 saves. Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves but took the loss for the Wild.

Minnesota visits the Rangers on Feb. 23.

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THIRD STAR: Devan Dubnyk went 2-0-1 (1.96 GAA, .950 SV%, 1 SO) last week for the @mnwild. He capped the week with a 44-save outing, the second-most ever by a Wild goaltender in a shutout performance.

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 12, 2018

Wild Wise Bet At Home

Minnesota has 66 points and as of this writing holds down the final wild-card spot in the West, although the LA Kings, Anaheim and Colorado are right on their tails. It would be quite a disappointment for the Wild to miss the playoffs considering they finished with the second-most points in the Western Conference last season. They were bounced in the first round, however, by the St. Louis Blues. Minnesota, which has reached the postseason five years in a row, has never reached a conference finals since rejoining the NHL for the 2000-01 season.

The Wild have alternated wins and losses over the past five, coming off a 3-0 home victory over Chicago on Saturday to improve to a stellar 19-4-5 at home compared to 11-15-1 away. Jared Spurgeon extended his point streak to five games with an assist. Dubnyk made 44 saves for his first shutout since November and is 4-0-1 in his past five decisions. He was named the league’s Third Star for last week as you can see in the Tweet above. The Wild will be short-handed for perhaps the rest of the month as defenseman Jonas Brodin is out with a broken left hand. He had five goals and 10 assists in 53 games along with a team-best rating (by far) of plus-19.

The Rangers sit last in the Metropolitan Division with 59 points and reportedly will be a seller ahead of the Feb. 28 trade deadline – specifically, wingers Rick Nash and Michael Grabner are both available as they will be free agents this summer. The Wild could have interest in one of them as they are middle-of-the-pack in scoring.

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Hear from #NYR head coach Alain Vigneault after tonight's win over the Jets.

— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 12, 2018

Nash isn’t what he used to be with 17 goals and 10 assists in 56 games. He has submitted his 18-team no-trade list to the Rangers. Grabner has 23 goals vs. just five assists – if you need an empty-netter he’s your guy with a league-leading seven of those goals this season. Grabner had one in Sunday’s 3-1 upset win in Winnipeg. Mats Zuccarello scored for the first time in 23 games and Lundqvist stopped 31 shots.

The Wild are one of the NHL’s best bets at home and have won five of their past six overall vs. the East. The Blueshirts are just 2-7 in their past nine on the road and have won two of their previous 10 overall vs. teams with a winning record. Take Minnesota for Tuesday’s NHL pick.

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