A three-game losing streak has the Minnesota Wild on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture looking in. They attempt to halt the slide and move closer to a wild-card spot when they continue their five-game homestand Saturday against the New York Rangers.
Minnesota finds itself three points behind Arizona for the second wild card and five back in the race for third place in the Central Division after dropping five of its last six contests (1-3-2) and being outscored 13-3 during its current skid. Jason Zucker scored the lone goal in Thursday's 4-1 loss to Dallas as the Wild fell to 0-2-0 during their string at Xcel Energy Center. New York looks to salvage the finale of its four-game road trip and snap its six-game slide away from home (0-3-3) after suffering a 5-1 defeat in Calgary on Friday. Defenseman Neal Pionk tallied in the setback for the Rangers, who are in the midst of a 2-5-5 stretch that began with a 4-1 home loss to Minnesota on Feb. 21.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), FS North, FS Wisconsin (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE RANGERS (28-30-13): Mika Zibanejad tops the club with a career high-tying 27 goals but is mired in an eight-game drought and has tallied just once in his last 13 contests. Henrik Lundqvist likely will be in the crease Saturday after Alexandar Georgiev surrendered five goals on 32 shots against the Flames. The 37-year-old Lundqvist needs five victories to tie Curtis Joseph (454) for fifth place on the all-time list.
ABOUT THE WILD (33-30-8): Zucker, who has collected seven goals and two assists over his last 10 contests, became the 17th player to appear in 400 games with the franchise on Thursday. Zach Parise leads the team in goals (24) and points (55) but is in the midst of a nine-game goal-scoring drought and has notched just one assist over his last six contests. Eric Staal has gone six games without a tally, keeping him one shy of the 12th 20-goal season of his career.
1. Wild LW Kevin Fiala's next point will be his 100th in the NHL.
2. Zibanejad is slated to play in his 200th game as a Ranger on Saturday.
3. Minnesota has gone 1-6-3 at home since the beginning of February, with the victory coming in overtime.
PREDICTION: Wild 3, Rangers 2