The Blueshirts are in Minnesota to take on Mats Zuccarello and the Wild where they will look to extend their road winning streak to four (8:00 P.M. ET, MSG).
Tuesday night, the Rangers started a three-game road trip in Winnipeg where they were victorious 4-1. Rangers fans were holding their breath halfway through the first period after a collision took place between Igor Shesterkin and Jets forward Andrew Copp. The Russian netminder was later pulled in the first period by the concussion spotter and put in the concussion protocol. Interestingly enough, Shesterkin was suffering from a leg injury and not a head injury according to Rangers medical trainer Jim Ramsay.
“The league needs to take a look at that procedure,” said head coach David Quinn. “If the trainer tells you it’s an ankle issue, I don’t understand why you have to go through concussion protocol.”
Shesterkin returned at the start of the second period and would finish the game with 42 saves on 43 shots. With a win, the 24-year-old improved his recorded to 6-1-0 in his career.
“All he knows is there is a net behind him and he’s going to keep the puck out of it, which is a very simple approach, and it works,” Quinn said.
The Rangers opened up the scoring late in the first period through Chris Kreider. Kreider would add a power-play goal in the second period to double the lead heading into the third intermission. At the beginning of the third period, the Blueshirts would score two goals in a 35 second span from Ryan Strome and Mika Zibanejad to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead early in the third. Nikolaj Ehlers would get one back for Winnipeg but that’s all they would get.
The Blueshirts will now head to St. Paul to take on the Minnesota Wild. The Rangers won the first meeting 3-2 in overtime. Artemi Panarin was a difference maker registering an assist on all three goals. Panarin is on a six-game point streak against the Wild.
Alex Georgiev will get the start for the Rangers. After practice Quinn stated Shesterkin is the number 1 and that he would have played if not for the ankle injury suffered in Winnipeg. Georgiev last started against Buffalo and allowed three goals on 28 shots in a losing effort.
Kaapo Kakko will be hoping for a big game tonight. Kakko turned 19 today and will be hoping to celebrate his birthday in a big way. Kakko notched 19 points which was the most ever by an 18-year-old in Rangers history.
The Wild’s current leading point scorer is ex-ranger Eric Staal. Staal currently has 41 points in 56 games. Minnesota recently dealt Jason Zucker to Pittsburgh in exchange for a first-round pick, a prospect and Alex Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk is expected to slot on the 2nd line with ex-ranger Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello, who played parts of nine seasons with the Rangers, has recorded 30 points this season.
The Wild will turn to Alex Stalock. Stalock has outplayed starter Devan Dubnyk this season. Stalock enters the game with a record of 14-8-3 with a .908 save percentage and 2.74 goals against average.
With the Rangers sticking with the same lineup, Brendan Smith will be a healthy scratch for fifth straight game.