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Preview: Rangers at Wild

Minnesota forward Martin Hanzal game-time decision; New York's 25-9-0 road record best in NHL

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

RANGERS (44-24-2) at WILD (43-20-6)



Rangers team scope

New York Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta is expected to start in the second half of a back-to-back after making 34 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers on Friday. After a sixth consecutive loss at home, the Rangers play five of their next six games on the road, where they have an NHL-best 25-9-0 record. "We try to figure out why we are so good on the road and why it changes at home," forward Rick Nash said Friday. "We have been through a lot of video and we can see the differences on video. It seems like we play straight lines on the road, get pucks deep, and at home we try to make the cute plays and not get as many shots on net. We are trying to bring that road game home." The Rangers hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference and are six points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division.


Wild team scope

Minnesota Wild center Martin Hanzal will be a game-time decision after missing three games with an illness. Hanzal skated Saturday morning and said he feels good enough to play. "It's always tough to miss games," Hanzal said. "I'm on a new team so I'm trying to fit in and learn the system and everything around it. It's been tough. It's been a tough week for me." Hanzal has four assists in seven games with Minnesota, which will try to end a three-game losing streak; the Wild are 1-5-0 in their past six games. Minnesota is three points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference with a game in hand. "We've gone through a little bit in the last 10 days," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I'm very confident that this team, whether it's tonight, whether it's tomorrow [at the Winnipeg Jets] or whether it's the next day, is going to come out of this and we're going to be a better team for it." Goaltender Devan Dubnyk will start. Forward Eric Staal will play his 999th NHL game.


Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

J.T. Miller -- Mika Zibanejad -- Rick Nash

Michael Grabner -- Kevin Hayes -- Jesper Fast

Jimmy Vesey -- Oscar Lindberg -- Tanner Glass

Marc Staal -- Ryan McDonagh

Brendan Smith -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Steven Kampfer

Antti Raanta

Magnus Hellberg

Scratched: Pavel Buchnevich, Matt Puempel, Brandon Pirri, Adam Clendening

Injured: Henrik Lundqvist (hip), Kevin Klein (back spasms), Dan Girardi (ankle)


Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise -- Erik Haula -- Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart -- Martin Hanzal -- Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Marco Scandella -- Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Ryan White, Tyler Graovac

Injured: Christian Folin (upper body), Gustav Olofsson (upper body)


Status report

Folin and Olofsson each took part in Minnesota's morning skate but aren't expected to return until later in the week, Boudreau said. … The Rangers did not conduct a morning skate.


Who's hot

Kreider has six points (two goals, four assists) in a five-game point streak. … Granlund has 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in his past 13 games. … Staal has five points (four goals, one assist) in his past four games.

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