In just a few weeks, the Minnesota Wild have gone from chasing for the Central Division lead to trying to hang on to a Western Conference playoff spot.
March Madness, indeed.
The slump-riddled Wild, who have lost six of their past seven games and eight out of the last 10, host the New York Rangers — a team that has won three straight — on Tuesday at the Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota is coming off a 6-3 loss to Dallas on Sunday that saw a strong start for the Wild, followed by a awful middle period and then a frantic finish.
And the Wild, who have struggled on special teams, on faceoffs and in the net, and are looking for answers. On top of that is the question of what the Wild might do with the NHL trade deadline is less than two weeks away.
“I don’t want to say. ‘there’s no panic, there’s no sense of urgency, we’re fine..’ We’re not,” Wild forward Marcus Foligno said during a post-practice media availability session on Monday. “We’re losing games. It’s never fine in that situation, but we know we can get back in the win column and get going on streaks. Get back to our hockey.
“It hasn’t been going our way right now but I think it just starts with work ethic and getting back to things like we saw today (in practice),” Foligno said. “We have something good here. We know that. We’ve seen it all year. It’s a great group in (the locker room), no one’s quitting on each other.”
Minnesota is 7-4-1 in its last dozen games against the Rangers in St. Paul. Seven of those games have been decided by a goal.
The Wild beat the Rangers 3-2 on Jan. 28 at Madison Square Garden.
The Wild vs. Rangers odds on .WynnBET has Minnesota favored by 1.5 goals at home. Minnesota also is favored on the moneyline as well at -140. The Rangers are the underdog at +120. The over/under is set at six total goals.
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Upcoming Wild schedule
Thursday, March 10: @ Detroit, 6 p.m. CST
Friday, March 11: @Carolina, 6 p.m. CST
Sunday, March 13: Nashville, 6 p.m. CST