NEW YORK (AP) — Frederick Gaudreau scored the game-clinching goal early in the third period and the Minnesota Wild beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Friday night after the jersey retirement ceremony for Henrik Lundqvist.
Kevin Fiala and Mats Zuccarella – a former Ranger – each scored a goal and an assist to extend their point streak to 10 games, and Cam Talbot – a replacement for Lundqvist for two seasons – stopped 25 shots for the Wild. Minnesota won for the seventh time in eight games (7-0-1).
Chris Kreider scored his 31st NHL lead goal and Barclay Goodrow also scored for New York, which led 2-0 after one period. Igor Shesterkin made 31 saves. Rangers have lost two games in a row after winning nine out of 12.
On the go-ahead goal, Gaudreau’s shot escaped Shesterkin at 1:49 of the third to score his third goal of the season.
Rangers had a possible equalizer with 1.9 seconds left due to goalkeeper interference.
Rangers, who entered the contest on a five-game winning streak at home, first rose to the occasion after the emotional pre-game ceremony for Lundqvist, their franchise keeper who upgraded his number 30 to the garden rafters in front of a noisy crowd of 18,006 people. .
Goodrow opened the scoring for Rangers at 8:47 of the first period with his 10th goal of the season. Jacob Trouba and Ryan Strome attended.
Kreider made it 2-0 with 2:52 left in the first period after Talbot fumbled the puck in the crease and Kreider pushed it past him. Trouba and Mika Zibanejad attended. Zibanejad have points in 10 of their last 11 games.
The Rangers outshot the Wild 12-5 on first shot.
The Wild then dominated the second, beating Rangers 19-7 and scoring twice to tie the game.
Fiala pulled one back at 12:18 of the middle period, scoring his 12th goal of the season before Zuccarello tied the game 89 seconds later with a power play goal.
The tying goal was the 13th of the season for Zuccarello, a fan favorite during his nine seasons in New York. Assists went to Kirill Kaprisov and Matt Boldy.
Zuccarello, 34, has five goals and 13 assists during his scoring streak while Fiala has eight goals and five assists.
The teams were meeting for the first time since Feb. 13, 2020, a 4-3 Rangers shootout victory in Minnesota. The Wild’s previous visit to New York dates back to November 25, 2019, a 3-2 win at MSG.
The Rangers, who were coming off a 5-3 loss at Columbus on Thursday, still have points in 15 of 19 home games this season. They will host Seattle and Florida before the All-Star break.
RETIREMENT FROM THE JERSEY
Lundqvist has become the 11th Ranger to have his shirt number retired. He played for the Blueshirts for 15 seasons (2005-06 – 2019-20), appearing in 887 games and racking up 459 wins with 64 shutouts. He has over 50 team records, including wins, appearances by a goalie, and shutouts. Lundqvist joined Rod Gilbert (7), Ed Giacomin (1), Mike Richter (35), Mark Messier (11), Brian Leetch (2), Adam Graves (9), Andy Bathgate (9), Harry Howell (3) , Jean Ratelle (19) and Vic Hadfield (11) as Rangers whose shirt numbers have been retired by the organization.
THE RETURN OF ZUCCARELLO
Zuccarello returned for the second time since his trade from Rangers to Dallas in February 2019. Zuccarello was serenaded with backing vocals of “Zuuucc” every time he was shown on the giant screen above the ice. A close friend of Lundqvist, Zuccarello received loud applause as he took part in the pre-game showdown with Zibanejad as Lundqvist, his wife and two daughters were at center ice for the pinfall.
NOTES: The teams meet on March 8 in Minnesota. … Rangers were without D Adam Fox for the first time this season. Fox, who leads the Rangers with 40 assists, was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury after being injured Thursday night against Columbus. … Rangers struck out D Nils Lundkvist, F Filip Cytil and F Tim Gettinger. … The Wild struck out F Nico Sturm and F Nick Bjugstad.
Rangers: Host Seattle on Sunday.
Wild: Visit the New York Islanders on Sunday night.