The New York Rangers take their Broadway show on the road where they will meet the host Minnesota Wild on Thursday in St Paul, Minn.
The Rangers got their 2022-23 season started on the right note with a 3-1 victory over the reigning Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday in New York.
Mika Zibanejad led the way for the home side as he tallied a pair of goals while firing a whopping nine shots on goal as part of his hefty 23:13 of ice time. Both of Zibanejad’s markers came on special teams, one short-handed and one on the power play.
“Obviously it’s nice to see the puck go in and not stand here after Game 15 and not having scored,” Zibanejad said, per NHL.com. “It’s a lot nice to get that win and get that good start. … The way we won today and the way we played, I thought that was a good thing for us.”
Barclay Goodrow added an insurance marker with nine minutes remaining in regulation.
Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin made 25 saves in the winning effort. He led the NHL with a 2.07 goals-against average and .935 save percentage across 53 games (52 starts) a season ago.
Rangers forward Vitali Kravtsov was injured in the first period on a hit by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and left the game and did not return. The team said he will not travel to Minnesota for the start of a two-game road trip that also runs through Winnipeg.
The Wild open up their 2022-23 campaign on home ice where they worked to a 31-8-2 record a season ago, the second-best home record in the Western Conference.
While the Wild finished second in the Central Division with 113 points last season, they were dealt a first-round exit by the rival St. Louis Blues in six games.
“I know everyone’s determined this year to do better,” general manager Bill Guerin said. “For me, I want to see the determination of the guys that were here last year and focus on the drive to get better. We need to take another step.”
Marc-Andre Fleury is the projected opening-night starter after being acquired in a trade-deadline deal with the Chicago Blackhawks last season before re-signing with the club this offseason.
Fleury, who turns 38 next month, posted a 2.74 GAA and .910 save percentage in 11 regular-season games with Minnesota but slipped to a 3.04 GAA and .906 save percentage in five postseason starts.
Ahead of the season opener, Fleury admitted his workload might take a dip at age 37.
“Around the league, I don’t think you see anyone playing 70 games anymore,” said Fleury. “So I think it’s common to have both guys play. With injuries and stuff like that, we never know what can happen. For me, it’s just one game. Coach tells me to go, I’ll be ready and so on. I don’t need to look too far ahead for a number.”
Wild forward Jordan Greenway is expected to miss the first five-to-10 games of the season with an upper-body injury.
–Field Level Media