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Wild start road trip in New York with loss to Rangers

In the end, the Wild battled tough on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, then fell 4-3 to the Rangers in a shootout.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at New York Rangers
Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek, left, and New York Rangers center Filip Chytil fight for the puck during the second period Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, in Madison Square Garden. The Rangers won 4-3 in a shootout.
Jessica Alcheh / USA Today Sports
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NEW YORK CITY — As coach Dean Evason so accurately put it pregame, the Minnesota Wild knew exactly what not to do against the New York Rangers.

Remember, the Wild suffered an embarrassing 7-3 loss to the Rangers on home ice in the season opener a few months ago.

“The mistakes that we made (in that game) are a lot of things that have hurt us,” Evason said. “Literally we’re going to show those goals like, ‘This is how we do not play.'”

In the end, the Wild battled tough on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, then fell 4-3 to the Rangers in a shootout.

The game nearly got away from the Wild in the early stages. They took a pair of minors in succession shortly after puck drop, then watched a pair of pucks nail the post behind Marc-Andre Fleury in the crease.

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With the Wild chasing the game at that point, Jon Merrill took some of the pressure off midway through the first period with a goal to make it 1-0. The lead grew a few minutes later as Kirill Kaprizov casually found the back of the net to make it 2-0.

Though the scoreboard suggested they were playing well, the Wild were very fortunate to be in front. As expected, the carelessness came back to bite them.

The tide started to turn early in the second period when Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller cut the deficit to 2-1. It was an impressive individual effort from the Minnesota native as he pounced on a puck in open ice, skated past a host of defenders, and beat Fleury with a perfectly placed wrist shot.

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Instead of responding, the Wild continued to surrender scoring chances on the rush, and it cost them once again when Rangers defenseman Adam Fox leveled the score at 2-2. That goal came after a turnover by Mats Zuccarello in the offensive zone.

Luckily for Zuccarello, he atoned for his mistake in the third period, ripping a shot through Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin to put the Wild in front 3-2.

That would’ve held up as the game-winner if it wasn’t for Rangers center Filip Chytil. He made it 3-3 late in the third period at the end of a marathon shift in the offensive zone. The puck crossed the goal line after a massive scrum in front with Matt Dumba inadvertently pushing it in.

That forced overtime where the Wild got called for too many men on the ice, then stepped up big time on the penalty kill to pave the way for the shootout.

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