Game Day Preview: Jets @ Rangers
When: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Time: 6:00 p.m. CST
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Records: Winnipeg Jets (8-9-1 – 11th in East), New York Rangers (8-7-2 – 10th in East)
Television/Radio: RDS, TSN, MSG/ TSN 1290
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets wrap up their season long five-game road trip tonight against the New York Rangers looking to take a bite out of the Big Apple.
The Jets defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Sunday afternoon to improve its record to 3-1 on this current road trip and they will look to add to that win total against a New York team that is struggling to find its game.
The Rangers are also struggling to stay healthy right now. Rick Nash is expected to miss his fourth consecutive game tonight with what is believed to be post-concussion symptoms while shutdown defenseman Ryan McDonagh is also expected to miss tonight’s game with what is believed to be post-concussion symptoms.
The Jets are feeling pretty good heading into tonight’s game against the Rangers. Winnipeg overcame a 2-1 first period deficit in New Jersey, scored a power play goal (Grant Clitsome) and were a perfect 2-2 on the Penalty Kill against a Devils team that is very tough to play against, especially in their own building.
The Rangers, on the other hand, are not the most confident bunch heading into tonight’s game. New York has lost three games in a row, including Saturday’s embarrassing 3-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on national television, and are mired in a terrible goal scoring drought (New York has scored 5 goals in their last four games). Starting with $7.5 million dollar man Marion Gaborik (no points in his last four games) and $6.6 million dollar man Brad Richards (no points in his last three games) all the way down the line-up, New York is struggling to put the puck in the net.
If there is one area in which Winnipeg can take advantage of the Rangers tonight it is on defence. In addition to Ryan McDonagh’s injury, Michael Del Zotto is also questionable for tonight’s game after he missed Saturday’s game with a lower body injury. Steve Eminger was recalled from Hartford of the AHL and played on Saturday and will dress for the Rangers if Del Zotto can’t go.
Antti Miettinen will not play tonight as he is still suffering from a lower body injury sustained during the first period of Saturday’s game. Chris Thorburn will check back into the line-up for the Jets.
Today’s game is the first of three meetings between the Jets and Rangers this year. The Jets and Rangers meet next in Winnipeg on Thursday, March 14th (7:00 p.m. CST). The third and final meeting of the season between the two teams will be in New York on Monday, April 1st at 6:00 p.m.
Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in goal for the Jets today
Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start in goal for the Rangers today.
Follow @IllegalCurve on Twitter leading up to today’s game.
Projected Jets line combinations (subject to change before game time):
1st: Andrew Ladd- Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Evander Kane-Alexander Burmistrov- Nikolai Antropov
3rd: James Wright– Olli Jokinen- Anthony Peluso
4th: Eric Tangradi- Jim Slater – Chris Thorburn
Ron Hainsey- Zach Bogosian
Dustin Byfuglien- Grant Clitsome
Paul Postma- Mark Stuart
New York Rangers: Rick Nash (3 goals, 9 assists, 12 points), Brad Richards (2 goals, 9 assists, 11 points), Marian Gaborik (7 goals, 4 assists, 11 points)
Winnipeg Jets: Andrew Ladd (10 goals, 7 assists, 17 points), Blake Wheeler (6 goals, 10 assists, 16 points), Evander Kane (7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points)
New York Rangers: Arron Asham (back), Rick Nash (undisclosed), Ryan McDonagh (undisclosed)
Winnipeg Jets: Al Montoya (lower body), Tobias Enstrom (shoulder), Zach Redmond (leg), Antti Miettinen (lower body)
Who’s Next: After tonight, The Jets return home from for a two game set. The Jets play the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, February 28th (7:00 p.m. CST) followed by a game against the Washington Capitals on Saturday, March 2nd (2:00 p.m. CST).
QUICKIES….. Jim Slater has the best faceoff percentage on the Jets at 55.4% (103/186) and is ranked 15th in NHL for players who have taken at least 100 faceoffs…..