From their reactions following Tuesday night's games, one would think the New York Rangers were on the edge of playoff contention, and the Minnesota Wild were several games out.
But their roles are actually reversed heading into Thursday night's matchup at Madison Square Garden.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau walked out of his postgame news conference after just a couple of questions Tuesday following a 4-0 loss at home to the Anaheim Ducks, his former team.
"I didn't think we paid the price to win. So simple as that. You gotta get to the front of the net. You gotta get the dirty goals," Boudreau said before exiting.
The Wild (27-27-6, 60 points) have lost five consecutive games -- including four at home -- and are 1-6-3 since the All-Star break.
"I guess any way it can go wrong, it will," Wild forward Jason Zucker told NHL.com. "That's what's happening this year."
The Wild have been shut out in back-to-back games, with their scoreless streak reaching 156 minutes, stretching back to a 4-1 second-period lead they blew against the Devils on Friday.
They went 0-for-3 on the power play against Anaheim after going 0-for-5 against St. Louis.
"If we get one on the power play -- we had enough chances -- it's a different game," Wild defenseman Ryan Suter told NHL.com. "But we weren't able to score, and that's kind of the bottom line."
The Wild remained in the Western Conference's second wild-card spot after Tuesday's defeat, but Colorado and Chicago each entered Wednesday's games one point back.
"I still believe in our group," Suter said. "We're just snake-bitten."
The Rangers, on the other hand, are coming off a 2-1 victory Tuesday at Carolina, as goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 43 of 44 shots. It was Lundqvist's 30th career victory against the Hurricanes in 43 games.
"I had to improvise a little bit," Lundqvist told NHL.com. "It worked. It's just a good feeling to win. That's all I want to do."
Vladislav Namestnikov snapped a 1-1 tie 6:10 into the third, and Lundqvist made 18 saves in the period.
"Obviously you want to bounce back from the game we had (on Sunday), a tough loss against the Pens, and come here, a tough building, a division rival," Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad told NHL.com. "We kind of said that after the second going into the third: Just one good period and we'll be able to come out of here with two points.
"I didn't think it was our best period compared to the other games, but we did enough, we got that one goal, and Hankie shut it down."
Still, the victory left New York (26-25-8, 60) nine points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with four teams between them and the final wild-card berth.
"I don't think the chase and the hunt for the playoffs is over by any means for us here in the locker room," Zibanejad told the New York Post. "People outside might say so, but that's up to you guys and up to the rest of the people to think what we should do and what we should not. For us, we just take it game by game. It's that simple. We can't look ahead."
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