Just when you thought they might have turned a corner, the Rangers lost again Thursday night in Minneapolis, falling 5-2 to the Wild. Mikko Koivu had two goals and an assist to lead the Wild. The Rangers are 1-5-2 in their last 8 road games, and, after a 12-game stretch where the Blueshirts won 11 of 12 overall, the team is now 3-7-2 in their last 12 games.
The Rangers missed a chance to jump out to a v-e-r-y early lead Thursday; Keith Yandle was awarded a penalty shot just 49 into the game, but his shot was stopped by Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk. Koivu would then score 8:27 into the period to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.
Then, a scary moment for the Blueshirts. Goalie Antti Raanta was hit squarely in the mask by a slapshot from Minnesota’s Marco Scandella and did not return. Henrik Lundqvist played the rest of the game for the Rangers, who are expected to call up a backup goalie for Friday’s game against the Jets, until the team knows the extent of Raanta’s health.
Matt Dumba made it a 2-0 Minnesota lead with a power play goal at 17:30 of the 2nd period, but Dominic Moore cut the lead to 2-1 with just 9 seconds to go in the period.
Minnesota would score two goals in a 40-second span midway through the 3rd period to blow the game open. Jason Pominville scored a powerplay goal at 9:38, with Brady Skjei in the penalty box for holding, to make it 3-1. Pominville got past the Rangers’ defense, took a pass from Koivu and scored. Chris Porter made it 4-1 at 10:18, with a backhand shot from a near-impossible angle that somehow made it past Lundqvist’s left shoulder.
Ryan McDonagh scored his 5th of the season at 16:23 to cut it to 4-2, but Koivu scored his 2nd of the game, at 17:43, for the final 5-2 margin.
The Wild have now notched a point in nine straight games.
The Rangers [now 19-10-4, 42 pts] are right back in action Friday night in Winnipeg against the Jets.