(22-21-6, 50 points) _ (30-12-4, 64 points)
“This is all we have ahead of us right now, the game against Winnipeg, so we are going to be laying it on the line (Tuesday) night, just like we did in Boston and like we try to do every night. But there is nothing else on our minds right now. It’s all about the Winnipeg game.”
-Brian Boyle via Blueshirts United
Opponent Blog: Hockey At The Forks
Tonight at Madison Square Garden (7:00PM MSG), the New York Rangers look to head into the All-Star break on a high note as they face off against the Winnipeg Jets. After their thrilling 3-2 overtime victory against the defending champion Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon, the Blueshirts will look to earn their second straight victory before they receive a much-needed break in the schedule.
Winnipeg enters play fighting for their playoff lives in the Eastern Conference. With 50 points the Jets sit in tenth place in the East, just three points behind the Washington Capitals for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference. Monday night the Jets dropped a close 2-1 decision in Raleigh to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Jets are 3-7-1 in the month of January.
Pre-game notes, lineup, and the keys to victory after the jump.
Injuries: Michael Sauer (concussion), Steve Eminger (shoulder), Martin Biron (flu) and Jeff Woywitka (foot) are all OUT for tonight’s game.
Scratches: Wojtek Wolski
KEYS TO VICTORY
- GRAB THE EARLY LEAD – The Rangers have established themselves as a team that wins when they score first (22-1-1, best in the NHL) and lead after one (8-1-1). However, the Jets are 14-3-0 when leading after the first period –a better winning percentage than the Rangers. New York is notorious for slow starts, but its essential to establish an early lead against Winnipeg to force them into playing the Rangers’ game.
- NO BYFUGLIEN, KANE – The Blueshirts won’t be facing Winnipeg with their full lineup, with their best defenseman and arguably their best forward this season out with injuries. No game in the NHL is ever easy, but when you’re facing a team that’s 3-6-1 n their last ten games and missing two key players, there’s no excuses for a poor effort.
- NOT WINNING ON THE ROAD – Along with having a sub .500 record in their last ten, the Jets are also a below average team on the road –25th in the NHL with a 7-13-4 record. Winnipeg’s special teams suffers on the road as well, ranking 24th on the power play (13.4%) and 20th on the penalty kill (81.0%). The Rangers have posted a 7-3-0 record in their last 10 home games.
Martin Biron’s dominance of the Jets continues as he backstops his team to a 3-1 victory. Brad Richards (2 goals) and Carl Hagelin are your goal scorers.