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game recap

Wild lose fourth straight, ground in Central

Rangers get road win, gain in Metropolitan race

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Antti Raanta made 25 saves for the New York Rangers in a 3-2 win against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday. 

The Wild (43-21-6) lost their fourth straight game and are 1-6-0 in their past seven. Minnesota is five points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference with one game in hand. Chicago defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. 

"It's tough. This is a tough league," Wild center Eric Staal said. "They're not easy games every night. … This is a tough stretch for us right now. No one's going to help us out but us. We've got to make sure that we come to play tomorrow [against the Winnipeg Jets] and get after a win and get a good vibe going again."

 

WATCH: All Wild vs. Rangers highlights

 

The Rangers (45-24-3), who played the first of a six-game road trip, have an NHL-best 26-9-0 record away from home. New York holds the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference and is four points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

"People wonder why we don't win at home and why we win all the road games," Rangers forward J.T. Miller said. "We try to play every game the same. It's a constant theme. We definitely have more jump in our step on the road this year so far."

Staal, who played his 999th NHL game, scored at 12:54 of the first period to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. 

Brady Skjei tied it 1-1 at 16:01 with a shot from inside the blue line. Oscar Lindberg gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 7:46 of the second period, and Jimmy Vesey scored his 15th goal to make it 3-1 at 17:34.

Video: NYR@MIN: Lindberg finishes Miller's no-look feed

"There's no doubt that we played a good game in a real tough building," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "[We] got in late last night and I thought it was a real gutsy performance by our group here. … We got some good looks, and when we had a few breakdowns, Antti made some good saves."

Matt Dumba scored on a rebound of a Zach Parise shot for a power-play goal to make it 3-2 at 4:51 of the third period. The Wild lead the NHL in home power-play percentage (.294) and have 17 power-play goals in their past 18 home games. 

Raanta started his second game of a back-to-back. He made 34 saves in a 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Friday. Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves for Minnesota.

"You're just trying to focus on the next shot," Raanta said. "You don't start thinking too much ahead of yourself. If you lose your control against these kind of teams they will use that, so I was just trying to concentrate on the next shot and it worked out really good today. The whole team was playing great in front of me, so great two points for us."

Video: NYR@MIN: Staal wires in quick wrister from slot

 
Goal of the game

Vesey got to a loose rebound and shot top shelf past Dubnyk.

Video: NYR@MIN: Vesey uses crafty move to bury rebound

 

Save of the game

Dubnyk made a glove save at 14:00 of the first period on a shorthand breakaway by Jesper Fast.

Video: NYR@MIN: Dubnyk robs Fast with sprawling glove save

 

Unsung performance of the game

Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith dropped to the ice to break up a 2-on-1 by the Wild and took the puck up ice at 10:26 of the second period. 

 

Highlight of the game

Skjei one-timed a pass from Mats Zuccarello for the tying goal. Skjei leads Rangers defensemen in even-strength points (29) and is second in points (33; Ryan McDonagh has 38).

Video: NYR@MIN: Skjei blisters one-timer past Dubnyk

 
They said it

"It's hard to tell an athlete not to try their hardest and do what they think is right. They have to get it in their head that what worked will work again. Once that happens, then I think we'll get back on the road to success." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

 

"To come in, this team, you just look at their lineup. To get two points you need solid effort from the whole group. We got that tonight. Our kids line (Vesey, Lindberg, Glass) was real good. They got us that big goal in the second period. We did what we had to do to get two points." -- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault

 

Need to know

Staal has six points (five goals, one assist) in his past five games. … Zuccarello has five points (two goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak. ... Wild center Martin Hanzal had an assist in his first game back after missing three with an illness.

 

What's next

Wild: At the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV)

Rangers: At the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, MSG+, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Lindberg, Raanta pace Rangers past Wild, 3-2

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