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Stanley Cup Final

Daily Primer Dec. 22: Rangers continue homestand

Sunday, 12.22.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

A franchise-record nine-game homestand seemingly was a golden opportunity for the New York Rangers to make a playoff push in the Eastern Conference. Instead, the Rangers find themselves fighting just to stay in the mix.

The Rangers fell to 1-4-2 on the homestand with a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Friday and have two games to go before they go back on the road to visit the Washington Capitals on Dec. 27. The eighth game on the homestand takes place Sunday night, when the Rangers host the Minnesota Wild (7:30 p.m. ET, FS-N, MSG).

Here's a closer look at the action Sunday:

Minnesota Wild at New York Rangers-- It's the second of a four-game road trip for Minnesota, which lost 5-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Thursday. The Wild allowed three goals in a span of 9:49 in the second period and tried to rally from a 4-0 deficit, but Olli Maatta put the game away with a shorthanded penalty-shot goal at 7:54 of the third period. New York has struggled all season at home: The loss to the Islanders dropped the Rangers to 6-10-2 at Madison Square Garden this season.

Winnipeg Jets at Vancouver Canucks-- The Jets will be looking to make it two in a row after earning a 5-2 win against the Florida Panthers at MTS Centre on Friday. Evander Kane had a goal and an assist for Winnipeg, which went 2-for-4 on the power play. Vancouver wrapped up a three-game road trip Friday by beating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout at United Center. The Canucks rallied from a 2-0 deficit on goals from Zack Kassian and Daniel Sedin.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round