Winning on the road is hard in any sport but particularly in the NHL. Just don’t tell that to the New York Rangers.
New York goes on their first road trip of the 2022-23 season tonight and a clash with the Minnesota Wild. The Wild were the second-best team in the Central division last season and finished just six points behind the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Avalance during the regular season.
Minnesota had the second-best home record in the Western Conference last season and the fourth-best among the entire league.
But playing on the road has been a strength of the Rangers since Gerard Gallant was brought in last season. Away from MSG last season, the Rangers were 25-14-2 for 52 points, ranking tied for first in road wins and tied for seventh in road points according to the Rangers Stats & Info Twitter account.
The 25 wins were tied for the third most in team history.
The regular season success New York has had away from The Garden helped the Blueshirts win a crucial Game 6 on the road in Pittsburgh and an even bigger Game 7 a round later against Carolina last year in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Minnesota isn’t Pittsburgh or Carolina though and poses its own unique brand of hockey. That isn’t enough to worry New York’s head coach though.
“We just prepare to play our game. We prepare our players to get ready to play a big strong game.” Gerard Gallant said after practice Wednesday. “They are a big physical team and that’s the way they play, but when we play our game, we’re a good hockey team.”
Thursday night’s contest will also be the return of several Minnesota natives to their hometown teams.
Defenseman, Ryan Lindgren is a native of Burnsville, Minnesota and the Wild were his favorite team growing up. K’Andre Miller is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, and attended Minnetonka High School.
New York hasn’t started a season 2-0 since the COVID year of 2019-20. Add in the fact that the Rangers were swept in the two matchups against Minnesota last season, and the road warriors will need to come out strong on Thursday night.