Live conversation as the Rangers hit the road again

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Kyle Connor #81 of the Winnipeg Jets skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 03, 2019 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Jets 6-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Kyle Connor #81 of the Winnipeg Jets skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 03, 2019 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Jets 6-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The New York Rangers will kiss Canada good-bye after tonight’s game in Winnipeg as they make their last trip north of the border this season (unless it is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs).  They are taking on a Winnipeg Jets team that is falling out of playoff contention.  They are seven points out of the wild card and have won only two of their last seven games.

The Jets are 21st in points in the NHL and all of their stats fit that profile perfectly. They are 17th in goals per game (3.00) and 18th in goals against (3.02) while on special teams, their power play ranks 12th (22.2%) and their penalty kill is 21st (77.3%).

Their offensive leader is Kyle Connor with 33 goals and 62 points.  Mark Scheifele is considered to be having an off year, though he has 20 goals and 45 points in 49 games.  Connor Hellebuyck is three seasons removed from a Vezina Trophy and could be headed for his worst NHL season with a GAA of 2.92 and a .911 Sv%.

Players to watch are pending free agent forwards Andrew Copp and Paul Stastny who could be available at the deadline if the Jets continue to falter.  Copp, 27,  could be of particular interest for the Blueshirts. He is a center who is excellent on draws and has scored 13 goals and 31 points in 49 games in his walk year. He could be a rental or less expensive option to succeed Ryan Strome.   The 37-year old Stastny is a proven veteran with a career 54.1% faceoff winning percentage. He has been traded at the deadline before, from the Blues to Winnipeg in 2018.

The Rangers are down three forwards with Kaapo Kakko and Kevin Rooney out with upper body injuries and Greg McKegg back in New York for personal reasons (according to Gerard Gallant).  As a result, it will be Jonny Brodzinski and Morgan Barron or Tim Gettinger on the fourth line with Ryan Reaves.

After a great start on the road, the Rangers have lost three of their last four games away from MSG. Their road record is 16-10-2 and they will have only nine road games left after this  trip with 14 at home.

Projected starting lineups

Igor Shesterkin will be in net again for the Rangers.  He has faced the Jets once in his career, a 4-1 win on the road in February 2020.  He had to leave the game in the first period for the concussion protocol after colliding with Andrew Copp and Tony DeAngelo, but returned in the second period to finish the game.

That was the last time these two teams played against each other.  Nine Rangers are left who played in that game while the same number will represent Winnipeg.

NEW YORK RANGERS

20 Kreider– 93 Zibanejad –13 Lafrenière
10 Panarin– 16 Strome – 29 Hunt
21 Goodrow – 72 Chytil – 15 Gauthier
47 Barron or 26 Gettinger – 76 Brodzinski- 75 Reaves

55 Lindgren – 23 Fox
79 Miller – 8 Trouba
12 Nemeth – 45 Schneider

31 Shesterkin
40 Georgiev

WINNIPEG JETS

25 Paul Stastny – 55 Mark Scheifele – 26 Blake Wheeler
81 Kyle Connor – 80 Pierre-Luc Dubois -71  Evgeny Svechnikov
9 Andrew Copp – 17 Adam Lowry – 27 Nikolaj Ehlers
93 Kristian Vesalainen – 21 Dominic Toninato – 12 Jansen Harkins

44 Josh Morrissey – 2 Dylan DeMelo
5 Brenden Dillon – 4 Neal Pionk
64 Logan Stanley – 88 Nate Schmidt

37 Connor Hellebuyck
1 Eric Comrie

Though he is a seven-year NHL veteran, Connor Hellebuyck has faced the Rangers only seven times in his career. He has not been good, with a 3-4 record, a 3.48 GAA and .879 Sv%. The only teams he has a worse record against are Tampa and Carolina.

How to watch and the live conversation

Gametime is 7pm EST and the telecast will be on the MSG Network and MSG2 with the national live stream on ESPN+.  If the game goes late, there is a Knicks game due to start on MSG at 10pm so the postgame show could be cut off.  In that case, watch MSG2.  The radiocast should be on ESPN 98.7 FM.

The Blue Line Station live conversation is up and you can weigh in on the team and the game in the comments section below. We’ve had some lively chats recently.  There have been some issues with the comments refreshing automatically.  If they are not, one workaround is to sort by the “oldest” comments, the go to the “newest” comments to see the latest.  Sorry about that.