Two teams on each side of the playoff bubble will square off at the MTS Centre on Friday night: the New York Rangers (35-28-4) are hanging on to a Divisional playoff position, while the Winnipeg Jets (30-28-9) are on the wrong side of the Wild card cut-line.
Both the Rangers and Jets come in to the duel on losing streaks, although the Jets’ five-game winless drought far exceeds that of their New York combatants. The Jets fell to the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout on Wednesday, while the Rangers are just 15 hours removed from a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night, giving them only two wins out of their last 7 games.
Back on December 2nd, the Jets won big in Manhattan, with a 5-2 victory over the Rangers. All-time, the Jets are 3-5-0 against New York.
The Jets will go back to starter Ondrej Pavelec in net, after he made a solid 31-save effort in the Jets’ loss on Wednesday. Pavelec is 20-24-6 with a .903% save percentage and 2.95 GAA in 51 appearances this season. He has only won one of his last five starts, which was back on March 1st.
“King” Henrik Lundqvist will be the Rangers’ starter, after he sat on Thursday in the first game of the back-to-back. Lundqvist, who has only won two of his own last five starts, is 24-21-4 with a .916% save percentage and 2.51 GAA this season.
The Jets will still be without centers James Wright (ankle) and Mark Scheifele (knee), who are both out long-term. John Albert, who scored his first NHL goal on his very first shot against the Rangers in December, will be in the lineup, along with fellow call-up Eric O’Dell.
The Rangers will be completely healthy, meaning newly acquired Raphael Diaz will likely be a healthy scratch.
Winnipeg’s playoff situation is becoming desperate, after the Canucks vaulted the Jets in the Western Conference Wild Card race. The Jets are trailing the Dallas Stars, who hold the last Wild Card spot in the West. The Rangers hold on to the third spot in the Metropolitan Division, but are only one point ahead of the final Wild Card holder, the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers are inactive on Friday, but the Stars play the Calgary Flames.
The Jets are 15-13-6 at the MTS Centre this season, while the Rangers are a solid 19-13-0 on the road. Winnipeg is 7-4-2 against the Metropolitan Division this season.The Rangers are also positive against the Jets’ Central Division, at 7-5-0.
You can watch the game on TSN Jets, or listen live on TSN 1290 radio. Non-regional viewers can see the game on MSG. Puck drop from Winnipeg is 7:00 PM Central Time, 8:00 Eastern Time.
Thanks for reading. Join the conversation by commenting below, or send us a tweet and follow for live game updates @hkyattheforks.
Tags: Winnipeg Jets