The Winnipeg Jets and New York Rangers may be from different conferences, but they are living the same story as of late. Both teams are battling to stay afloat in their respective playoff races with inconsistent, unexceptional play in the first quarter of the season.
Monday night’s game will be the first between the two clubs this season, with the second and final meeting coming on March 14 at the MTS Centre. In their last game against each other on April 1st, the home Rangers held off the Jets for a 4-2 win.
The Jets will eclipse the halfway point on their season’s longest road trip on Monday, after going 2-1 in the first 3 games. The Rangers won their first game at home since November 10th on Saturday, taking care of the Vancouver Canucks by a 5-2 score.
Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot was first off the ice in the morning skate, so he will get his second straight start. Talbot made 35 saves on Saturday, holding the Vancouver Canucks to two goals. His counterpart will be Ondrej Pavelec of the Jets, who has posted a 2.69 GAA and a .916% Save Percentage in 22 games this year.
The Jets’ Evander Kane will not be in the lineup for the Jets after suffering a lower-body injury in Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Kane has been struggling as of late, only scoring 1 goal in his last 13 games. The Jets will also be without Paul Postma, Zach Bogosian, and Jim Slater, who are all on the Injured Reserve, and have no timetable for their return. The Rangers have a completely healthy lineup coming into the game.
The Jets’ will need to improve on their mistakes they made on Friday to win against a stronger New York club. Winnipeg’s defensive play was not up to par against Philadelphia, and Pavelec kept his team in it when the Jets couldn’t seem to get the puck on their own sticks. The power-play will also be under intense scrutiny after going 0/6 and giving up a short-handed goal that turned out to be the game-winner against the Flyers. The Jets offense will also have to put lots of pucks at the net and generate second and third chances if they want to beat a solid goaltender. The Rangers’ defense will be physical, and the Jets’ big bodies need to be ready to take a hit or two tonight.
The Jets dropped below .500% on the road with Friday’s loss, putting them at a 5-6-1 record. The Rangers are 5-5-0 at Madison Square Garden after starting their season with a 9-game road trip. The Jets continue to have a great record against Eastern Conference teams (6-2-1), while the Rangers are 4-6-0 against teams from the West.
You can watch Monday night’s game on TSN Jets, or listen live on TSN 1290. Non-regional viewers can catch the game on MSG. Puck drop from the Garden is at 6:00 Central Time.
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