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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. New York Rangers

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Kelly Erickson - Special To Wild.com

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. New York Rangers
New York Rangers vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (34-22-9: 77 points, 7th in Western Conference, 4th in Central Division) vs New York Rangers (35-27-4: 52 points, 6th in Eastern Conference, 2nd in Metropolitan Division)
Wild players have said that every game from here through the rest of the season will be a big game no matter who is on the other bench. That certainly rings true tonight.

Though tonight’s contest is a cross-conference matchup, as the Wild hosts the New York Rangers, two important points are on the line for both teams.

The Wild is looking to hold onto its Wild Card playoff spot and put some distance between itself and the rest of the pack — with Dallas and Phoenix pushing for spots as well.

And while the Rangers currently hold second place in their division, there’s a close race right behind them, simply itching for a postseason bid.

Tonight is the first night of a back-to-back for the Rangers as they take on Winnipeg tomorrow night. As such, New York Head Coach Alain Vigneault has already said netminder Cam Talbot will get the start tonight. Talbot has faced the Wild once, earning a win and a 1.00 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage.

Talbot’s one appearance against the Wild was Dec. 22, when Minnesota was in the middle of what would be a six-game losing streak. Jason Pominville netted the Wild’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss to New York, while Niklas Backstrom took the decision making 32 saves.

In net for the Wild will be Darcy Kuemper, who will get a chance to rebound from Tuesday’s loss. Head Coach Mike Yeo mentioned yesterday that the young netminder has shown he’s been able to brush off results, good or bad, with regularity and not let those results affect his focus for the next game.

Tuesday, the Wild fell in its second-straight shootout, this time 4-3 to the Oilers. Zach Parise, Jared Spurgeon and Pominville each tallied a goal while Kuemper made 23 saves through 65 minutes. The netminder also allowed the first shootout goals of his career in the contest.

The Rangers are also coming off a loss Tuesday, as they fell, 3-1, to Carolina. Kevin Klein netted the Rangers lone goal while Henrik Lundqvist made 32 stops on the night. 
If You're Going
New York sits second in the Metropolitan Division with several teams biting at its heels. The Rangers sit just one point ahead of Columbus and Philadelphia in the standings, three ahead of New Jersey and four up on Washington.

The Rangers are led by Martin St. Louis 62 points this season, whom they acquired on Trade Deadline Day. St. Louis’ 29 goals also lead the team.
Have you been collecting this season’s bobbleheads? Well tonight is your last chance to get one as the first 5,000 fans will receive a Zach Parise bobble.

Also, fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate at the game, benefitting Second Harvest Food Bank. The first 2,500 fans to make a donation will receive a commemorative Wild poster.

The Wild will wear its GREEN sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Jason Pominville, Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund — or as I like to call them, the PPG line. The trio combined on two goals Tuesday each recording a multipoint game. Pominville has 12 points (6-6=12) in his last 13 games. Parise has 15 points (7-8=15) in his last 11. Meanwhile Granlund has 14 points (3-11=14) in his last 13 contests.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge for a chance to win great prizes.

Wild.com
  Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
WildTV
Yeo | Koivu | Coyle |
PONDcast
Preview: Wild vs. New York Rangers
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
The forward lines will remain the same:

Parise-Granlund-Pominville
Moulson-Koivu-Coyle
Niederreiter-Brodziak-Cooke
Heatley-Haula-McCormick

Clayton Stoner will return to the blue line:

Spurgeon-Suter
Brodin-Scandella
Stoner-Ballard


Kuemper will make his first start against the Rangers tonight.
View From The Press Box
There’s not time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. Those things happen from time to time. But you have to have the mentality at this time of the year, ‘We can’t let it happen any more.’

So what’s really important for us is to put it aside.

-Yeo on the Wild’s recent results
Mike Rupp and Justin Fontiane will be the healthy scratches among the forwards while Nate Prosser sits among the defensemen.

Jason Zucker (minor procedure) and Josh Harding (illness) are on Injured Reserve. The club expects Niklas Backstrom to be shut down for the remainder of the season. 
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
Justin Falk was drafted by Minnesota in the fourth round (110th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and skated in 110 games with the Wild (2009-13). Dominic Moore skated in 40 games with Minne­sota in parts of two seasons (2006-08). Benoit Pouliot was selected fourth overall by the Wild in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and appeared in 65 games with Minnesota (2006-09). Derek Stepan (Hastings) and Ryan McDonagh (St. Paul) are Minnesota natives. Rangers Hockey Consultant Doug Risebrough served as the Wild’s General Manager from 2000-09. Minnesota has earned points in 13 of its last 16 games (9-3-4). Since Jan. 2, the Wild is 14-5-4 and its .926 save percentage ranks second only to the Rangers’ .928 save percentage, fourth in goals-against/game (2.17), fifth in win percentage (.696) and T-7th in points with the Rangers (32).

Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Rangers will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North and FOX Sports Wisconsin with a start time at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.           
Wild.com
(First) Tourney Time | Over The Boards: Kuemper | Best Of The Web | Prospects Report | Five Takeaways vs. Edmonton | 5-Hole vs. Edmonton |
WildTV
Suprise Homecoming | Cooke's 1,000th Game Ceremony | Congrats Cooke
PONDcast
  Wild 3, Edmonton 4 (SO) |
Photo Gallery
Wild vs. Edmonton | A Season In Hugs
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 13 '14NYR 1 at MIN 2Z. Parise
Dec 22 '13MIN 1 at NYR 4C. Hagelin
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. St. Louis67293362+11695
B. Richards67162945-101832
M. Zuccarello62153045+62843
D. Stepan67123345+31642
D. Brassard66132336-23063
R. McDonagh67112536+72621
C. Kreider60161834+117060
R. Nash50201232+12547
C. Hagelin57131225-13604
B. Pouliot65111425+64362
R. Callahan45111425-31642
D. Girardi6741418+31410
B. Boyle6751015+05211
D. Moore5851015+01401
J. Moore6521012+32502
M. Staal573811-91410
M. Del Zotto422911-51010
A. Stralman66178-22000
J. Miller28336-61600
D. Dorsett40325-610500
D. Carcillo48314+09602
K. Klein62224-112100
J. Falk20022-52000
T. Pyatt22011-91000
J. Fast8000-5200
B. Mashinter6000-11000
A. Asham6000-51400
C. Allen3000-1000
D. McIlrath2000-1700
D. Powe1000-2000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
H. Lundqvist5024-21-412014252.51.916
C. Talbot1911-6-0325071.76.937
M. Biron20-1-09387.61.763
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Pominville66242246-21455
Z. Parise51232043+524125
M. Moulson59182240-52682
M. Koivu4982937-41813
R. Suter6662935+52620
M. Granlund5362935+11822
N. Niederreiter66122032+113421
D. Heatley66121426-121842
M. Cooke6691524+85203
K. Brodziak6661521+14301
C. Coyle5471320-83121
J. Fontaine5412618+62211
J. Spurgeon5231518+81220
J. Brodin638917+41830
M. Scandella6031316+131801
K. Ballard44279-73700
T. Mitchell58189-32100
E. Haula32347+82300
N. Prosser38257+33502
J. Zucker21415+2211
C. McCormick33145-74500
C. Stoner57044-77800
S. Veilleux27202-31900
Z. Konopka36112-55500
M. Dumba13112-5210
M. Rupp12011+11300
B. Bulmer5000-2200
J. Blum4000+0000
C. McMillan1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Harding2918-7-3466901.65.933
D. Kuemper2112-4-3455792.25.922
I. Bryzgalov215-8-6596442.95.908
N. Backstrom215-11-2555463.02.899
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