Rangers quiet Minnesota
NEW YORK — The New York Rangers, trying to salvage what’s left of a nine-game homestand, knocked off the Minnesota Wild 4-1 Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
The win moved the Rangers (17-18-2) to just 2-4-2 on their longest homestand in history, which concludes Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Minnesota (20-13-5) dropped its fourth game in its last six.
The Rangers hadn’t won a game in regulation since a 3-1 win at Buffalo on Dec. 5.
Coach Alain Vigneault’s team overcame a 1-0 Minnesota first-period lead by scoring two goals in the second period and one in the third.
Cam Talbot, making his first start in goal for the Rangers since Dec. 2, stopped 24 shots to improve to 7-2. Niklas Backstrom (2-7-2) recorded 32 saves for the Wild. He gave up a third-period goal to Rangers left wing Chris Kreider, who sent a weak shot between his pads.
Center Mats Zuccarelllo slipped a backhander for his eighth goal of the season at 18:35 of the second to make it 3-1. Derek Brassard skated down the right wing and behind the Minnesota net, where he shoveled a pass in front to a waiting Zuccarello.
Carl Hagelin’s eighth goal of the season, a wrist shot to the top shelf, gave the Rangers a 2-1 edge at 11:26. The left winger received a pass from right winger Derek Dorsett and sent a one-timer over Backstrom’s shoulder.
Talbot wasn’t tested in the second period as Minnesota managed only five shots.
The Rangers scored their 24th power-play goal thanks to left wing Benoit Pouliot’s deflection off defenseman Ryan McDonagh’s wrist shot at 16:08 of the first period. Pouliot’s fifth goal of the season tied the game at 1-1.
New York was 9-for-41 on the power play in its previous 12 games.
Right winger Jason Pominville gave the Wild a 1-0 lead at 4:04 of the first period when he deflected defenseman Ryan Suter’s pass at the goal mouth for his 17th goal of the season. Center Mikael Granlund won the faceoff, sending the puck back to Pominville, who worked a give-and-go with Suter.
Notes: Wild C Mikael Granlund returned after missing 11 games with a concussion. He skated on the second line with wingers Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville. ... Minnesota G Josh Harding, the league leader in goals-against average (1.51), missed his second consecutive game in order to evaluate his medication for multiple sclerosis. He is expected to return after the NHL’s Christmas break. ... C Mike Rupp made his first return to Madison Square Garden since the Rangers traded him to Minnesota last season. Rupp was a healthy scratch in six consecutive games before he played Sunday. ... Wild Ds Jared Spurgeon and Clayton Stoner each skated in their 200th NHL game.