The New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild received first-hand yet entirely different glimpses of the suddenly chaotic nature of the NHL on Saturday night.
The Rangers will look to build on one of the biggest comeback wins in team history on Monday night when they host a Wild squad hoping to bounce back from a frustrating defeat.
Both teams were off Sunday after their eventful Saturday nights, when the Rangers came back from a four-goal deficit to edge the host Montreal Canadiens 6-5 and the visiting Wild squandered a two-goal lead in the final two minutes of the third period and fell to the Boston Bruins 5-4 in overtime.
The Rangers trailed 4-0 fewer than three minutes into the second period before coming back from at least four goals down for just the fourth time in franchise history and the first time since Dec. 26, 1991, when New York trailed by five goals in the first period of an 8-6 win over the Washington Capitals.
“Down four goals, anytime you’re able to do that — any game, any league — in Montreal, it feels a little better for some reason,” said Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux, who scored twice, including the game-tying goal shortly before the midway point of the third period. Lemieux’s father, Claude, played for the Canadiens in the 1980s.
“For me, personally, and for a lot of guys, it’s a special place to play. It feels good to win in here.”
As rare as such a comeback is for the Rangers, it’s becoming commonplace in the NHL. New York’s comeback was the second in three days and the fifth of the season in the league, tying the record set in 1983-84 and tied in 1985-86. According to the NHL, the five comebacks from four goals down equal the number of such comebacks in the previous 10 seasons combined.
The Wild got a taste of the unpredictability of a multi-goal lead Saturday, when they led the Bruins 3-1 late in the second period and 4-2 with two minutes left. But David Krejci forced overtime by scoring twice in a 48-second span before Torey Krug scored 2:43 into the extra session as Boston came back from a multi-goal deficit in the final two minutes of the third period to earn a win for just the second time ever.
Afterward, Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau took little solace in salvaging the point in overtime.
“We blew a two-goal lead with under five minutes to go,” Boudreau said. “That’s the way I look at it.”
The Rangers’ No. 1 goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, is likely to return to the net after Alexandar Georgiev started the second game of a back-to-back set and survived the Canadiens’ early flurry Saturday night to earn the win by recording 38 saves. Lundqvist took the loss Friday, when he made 35 saves as New York fell to the Ottawa Senators, 4-1.
The Wild will counter with either veteran Alex Stalock, who started for the third straight game Saturday and made 34 saves, or rookie Kaapo Kahkonen, who is expected to make his NHL debut during Minnesota’s three-game road trip.
Lundqvist is 6-7-0 in 14 games against the Wild. Stalock took the defeat in his only appearance against the Rangers on Oct. 19, 2014, when he made 25 saves for the San Jose Sharks in a 4-0 loss.
–Field Level Media