New York Rangers start first road trip of season in Minnesota

new york rangers
Mar 8, 2022; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) and New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) battle for the puck during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers open up a two-game road strip on Thursday in St. Paul, Minnesota against the Wild. It will conclude tomorrow night in Winnipeg with one thing for certain, winger Vitali Kravtsov will not play in either contest.

He was injured in the first period on a hit by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and left the game unable to return with an upper-body injury.

“Kravy is not coming on the trip,” Gerard Gallant said. “It’s definitely possible (he’ll play next week) but I haven’t got an update yet. I was told he’s not coming on the trip so it’s day-to-day after that.”

One player that could suit up is Sammy Blais, who was hurt in the team’s last preseason game and missed the opener on Tuesday.

“He’s day-to-day and coming on the trip,” Gallant said. “Im not saying if he’s playing tomorrow. He skated today but not yet ready to play. That could change in the morning.”

For the latest projected Rangers lineup click here.

New York Rangers look to roll on the road

jacob trouba rangers captain
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers got their 2022-23 season started on the right note with a 3-1 victory over the reigning Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday in New York.

Mika Zibanejad led the way for the home side as he tallied a pair of goals while firing a whopping nine shots on goal as part of his hefty 23:13 of ice time. Both of Zibanejad’s markers came on special teams, one short-handed and one on the power play.

“I think a lot PP and PKs today and it was good to get that going,” Zibanejad said of the special teams play. “It was a good test for us right away and I think we handled it pretty well.”

Barclay Goodrow gave the Rangers that much needed cushion with nine minutes left in the game by deflecting a Ryan Lindgren point shot.

Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin made 25 saves in the winning effort. He led the NHL with a 2.07 goals-against average and .935 save percentage across 53 games (52 starts) a season ago.

“We just prepare to play our game,” Gallant said about the matchup against the Wild. “You know they are going to come out hard. They’re a big physical team and that’s the way they play. So we’ll try an adjust but we have to play our game. When we do, we’re a good hockey team.”

Wild will be a tough opponent

The Wild open up their 2022-23 campaign on home ice where they worked to a 31-8-2 record a season ago, the second-best home record in the Western Conference.

While the Wild finished second in the Central Division with 113 points last season, they were dealt a first-round exit by the rival St. Louis Blues in six games.

“I know everyone’s determined this year to do better,” general manager Bill Guerin said. “For me, I want to see the determination of the guys that were here last year and focus on the drive to get better. We need to take another step.”

Marc-Andre Fleury is the projected opening-night starter after being acquired in a trade-deadline deal with the Chicago Blackhawks last season before re-signing with the club this offseason.

Fleury, who turns 38 next month, posted a 2.74 GAA and .910 save percentage in 11 regular-season games with Minnesota but slipped to a 3.04 GAA and .906 save percentage in five postseason starts.

Wild forward Jordan Greenway is expected to miss the first five-to-10 games of the season with an upper-body injury.

Rangers vs Wild notes

  • NYR were 25-14-2 on the road in 2021-22
  • Tied for first in road wins
  • Ranked seventh in road points (52)

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–Field Level Media contributed to this article

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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