New York Rangers (13-10-2) at Winnipeg Jets (13-11-2)
7:00 p.m., MTS Centre
TV: TSN Jets, MSG Plus Radio: TSN 1290,
Tonight at the MTS Centre the Winnipeg Jets and the New York Rangers will meet up with the final Eastern Conference playoff spot in the balance. As of now the two teams sit tied in points with 28 however the Rangers do hold a game in hand. The last time these two teams met Winnipeg skated to a 4-3 victory at Madison Square Garden in New York. On the back of 3 second period goals Winnipeg played a great road game in the hostile environment in the middle game of 3 game win streak.
The New York Rangers are coming off what was a very poor performance against the Buffalo Sabres in which Ranger coach John Torterella blasted his team, in particular the top line for their poor play, after being dominated for much of the game by the struggling Sabres. New York has been a very Jekyll and Hyde story this season, on the nights where their top players show up, Gaborik, Nash, Callahan and the rest this team can be lethal, but on just as many nights this season the offense has struggled and the load has fallen on Henrik Lundqvist. Though still one of the best goaltenders in the league Lundqvist has not been able to win games alone for his team, but the ability remains and at any time he can get hot and the Rangers could climb up the Eastern Conference standings.
Besides a win early in the season over Pittsburgh, Tuesday may have marked the most impressive home ice performance for the Winnipeg Jets this season. The Jets showed a little of everything in the win, scoring a powerplay goal, killing off a nearly full two minute 5-3, and at times dominating at both ends of the ice. Winnipeg will look to continue their suddenly strong home ice play and push their way into a playoff spot before heading into Ontario for back to back games Saturday and Sunday night.
Keys to the Game
Scoring: 5 goals against the Leafs was huge for the Jets who at times can struggle offensivley. It is important for Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler, each who had great games Tuesday, to continue playing strong and creating opportunities near the net.
Face off circle: Winnipeg has been great in this area so far but was dealt a major blow with what appears to be a hand injury to Jim Slater which could keep him out of action for some time. Winning this area of play can give your team a huge advantage and the Jets must keep it.
Discipline: Though the penalty kill has been perfect recently, the New York Rangers are not a team you want to give this chance. With all the fire power they possess this is a perfect time for them to break out. When you have a team struggling for offence, giving them these free chances could light the offensive fire.
Ondrej Pavelec (10-11-2) GAA: 2.78 SV% .903
Henrik Lundqvist (11-9-1) GAA: 2.28 SV% .919
Enstrom WPG, (Shoulder) out
Redmond WPG, (Thigh Laceration) out
Peluso WPG, (Hand) out
Slater WPG, (Hand) out
Staal NYR, (Eye) out
Asham NYR, (Back) questionable
Sauer NYR, (PCS) out
Last 10 (W-L-OTL)
Jets continue strong home play, look like the home team from a year ago
Jets 4 Rangers 2