The Minnesota Wild will try and do something few teams in the NHL have been accomplished so far this season:
Solve Igor Shesterkin.
The New York Rangers 26-year-old goalie has posted a 20-4-2 record and a 2.07 goals against average. The Wild, who are coming off an impressive offensive showing on Monday, will take their shots against him on Friday in a matchup between two of the top teams in the league.
The Wild have averaged 4.50 goals per game in January to rank second in the NHL for the month, just behind Florida. Minnesota has scored 36 goals in its past eight games.
That offensive surge is a reason why the Wild have gone 6-0-1 in that stretch and enter the weekend on the strength of a three-game winning streak. Minnesota remains in fourth place in the Central Division but is the top wild card team in the Western Conference with 53 points.
The Rangers are in a three-way tie for first place in the Metropolitan Division with Washington and Carolina. All three teams have 60 points. The Rangers are coming off a 5-3 loss to Carolina on Thursday. a game in which New York star defenseman Adam Fox was injured and left the game.
The Wild are 3-0-1 in their last four trips to Madison Square Garden and have outscored the Rangers 17-9 over that stretch.
Cam Talbot is expected to get the start for the Wild in net against a team that he spent two seasons with (2013-14, ’14-15). His former teammate, Henrik Lundqvist will have his jersey retired in a pregame ceremony.
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The Wild vs. Rangers odds on WynnBET has Minnesota as the favorite at Madison Square Garden by 1.5 goals. Minnesota is also the moneyline favorite at -140, and the Rangers are the underdog at +120. The over/under total is at six goals.
Upcoming Wild schedule
Sunday, Jan. 30: @New York Islanders 6:30 p.m. CST
Wednesday, Feb. 2: @Chicago, 8:30 p.m. CST
Tuesday, Feb. 8: @Winnipeg, 7 p.m. CST