The Winnipeg Jets looked to get over .500% once again, as they passed the halfway marker on their longest road trip of the season. The New York Rangers were looking to keep the good times rolling after an impressive win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Something had to give between two inconsistent teams on Monday night, and it certainly did.
The Rangers got things started off right, when Mats Zuccarello tipped in a point shot from Ryan McDonagh for his fourth goal of the season. Zuccarello’s opener at 2:49 marked the second straight game the Jets would allow a goal inside the first three minutes of a game.
Although there was no more scoring to be had in the first period, the Jets’ Anthony Peluso and New York’s Justin Faulk kept the crowd entertained with a spirited fight half-way through the game. The fight came out as a decisive victory for Peluso in his first bout of the season. The Rangers finished the first period out-scoring the Jets 1-0, and out-shooting their visitors 11-6.
The Jets came out flying in the second period, and dominated the Rangers early. It was only a matter of time before Winnipeg scored the equalizer, and Devin Setoguchi did just that, 8 minutes into the frame. Winnipeg wasn’t done there: Cleveland native John Albert, who was called up by the Jets earlier in the day to fill the spot of injured Evander Kane, scored his first career NHL goal in his first game. The marker came 1:46 after Winnipeg tied the game, and exactly halfway through regulation time, the Jets had the lead.
New York battled back, however, and after a sequence of terrible defensive zone play by the Jets, Ryan Callahan equalized during a mad scramble in the crease. The period ended at a 2-2 deadlock, with shots favoring the home team 15-13 in the second stanza.
The third period would be a back-and-forth affair for its first half, until Olli Jokinen scored his fifth of the season to put the Jets up 3-2. It was smooth sailing from there for Winnipeg, as Jokinen scored once again with 2 minutes to go, and Blake Wheeler sealed the deal with an unassisted empty-net goal. The Jets’ 3 unanswered goals in the third period stunned the home crowd, and Winnipeg took the game in convincing fashion, a 5-2 final.
The Jets’ power-play, which was heavily scrutinized coming in to the game, was 0-2 on the night, generating four shots. The man-advantage didn’t look any better than in games previous, with limited motion down low, and pass attempts to Dustin Byfuglien becoming all too common.
Chris Thorburn had himself a night to remember, recording 2 assists after going point-less in his last 18 games. Thorburn was a +2, made 3 hits, and even went 2/2 in the faceoff circle as a defenseman, all in 12:10 of ice time.
Cam Talbot allowed 3+ goals for the first time in his NHL career (8 starts). Talbot finished the game with a .857% Save Percentage after allowing 4 goals on 28 shots.
At the other end, Ondrej Pavelec had a remarkable game, making 34 saves fora .944% Save Percentage.
The Rangers drop to 5-6-0 at Madison Square Garden this season, and have only won one of their last five home games. They will hit the road on Thursday to visit the Buffalo Sabres, before returning home for a 9-game home stand that takes them to Christmas break. New York sits in 3rd in their Metropolitan Division, with a 14-14-0 record.
The Jets improve to 7-2-1 against Eastern Conference teams, and hold a 6-6-1 record as the visiting team. The Jets are off to Florida to finish up their road trip, visiting the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. The Jets leap into fifth place in the Central Division, holding a 13-12-4 record.
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