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Rangers need to get back on track in Winnipeg with Lundqvist back in net

Bobby Bevilacqua

alain vigneault and bench 2-19

The Rangers need to get back on track tonight when they take on the Winnipeg Jets, looking to snap a two game losing streak. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After a rough weekend which saw the Rangers (47-21-7) drop two games in two days, the Blueshirts will be aiming for a rebound win when they take on the Winnipeg Jets (39-25-12) at the MTS Center up in Canada, a team that is desperate to cling onto their wild card spot.

The Rangers and the Jets will be meeting for the second and final time this season, with the first meeting coming way back on November 1st, a 1-0 shootout victory for Winnipeg in that game. Henrik Lundqvist picked up a shutout in that game, stopping all 25 shots that he faced.

The Jets have been playing very well, with a 6-2-0 record in their last eight games. They have been red hot at the MTS Center as well, posting a 12-3-2 record in their last 17 road games. Ondrej Pavelec is expected to start in goal for the Jets, and is aiming for his 20th win of the season. Pavelec had a six game win streak snapped on Sunday in a heartbreaking late loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Winnipeg could be getting injured center Bryan Little back in the lineup. The Jets third leading scorer has missed the last 11 games with an upper body injury, and has not played since March 4th. Little has 51 points (24-27-51) in 65 games this season.

Since coming over in a trade from Buffalo, Tyler Myers has flourished with his new club. The former 12th overall pick has already matched his point output from when he was in Buffalo, scoring four goals with nine assists for 13 points as a member of the Jets. At 6-foot-8 and 219 pounds, Myers also provides a big, physical force that fits right into the Jets style of play.

Dustin Byfuglien is another player to watch from the blue line for Winnipeg. Since returning from an upper body injury that forced him to miss nine games, Byfuglien has scored three goals in those two games, giving him a total of 45 points (18-27-45) this season. Byfuglien has also played forward in his career, so he is extremely skilled with the puck, and his slap shot on the power play can be a lethal weapon.

Lee Stempniak was traded from the Rangers to Winnipeg before the deadline, and is expected in the lineup tonight. Stempniak has two goals and three assists in 12 games as a Jet.

Henrik Lundqvist will be back in goal for the Rangers for just the second time since returning from his injury. He allowed four goals against the Bruins in the first game, although he had absolutely no defensive help in front of him. He actually made quite a few good saves to keep the game from being more lopsided than it ultimately was. With just seven games remaining, Lundqvist needs all of the work he can get in order to prepare for the playoffs. A strong performance for him would really help his confidence and get him back on track to becoming the goalie he was prior to the injury.

Henrik Lundqvist blocker save 11-11

Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net for the Rangers, looking for his first win since returning from his injury. He had a 25 save shutout against the Jets earlier this season. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

 

The Rangers would really like to get a win here in order to right the ship following a rough stretch of games, with a 1-3-0 record in the last four matches. New York has allowed nine goals in the last two games after giving up just 10 goals in the five games prior. The power play is just 2-33 in the last 15 games, and is a facet of the team’s game that they need to improve before the postseason.

After Sunday’s game, the Rangers reassigned Chris Summers to the Hartford Wolf Pack. This means that Matt Hunwick is healthy and ready to go for today’s game. Hunwick will likely be paired with Yandle on the third defensive pairing.

One of the lone bright spots over the past four games has been the rookie Kevin Hayes, who continues to improve with each passing game. Hayes scored a gorgeous goal on Sunday, and has two goals and two assists in that span. His 39 points are tied for fifth amongst rookies, and out of his 24 assists, 22 of them are primary helpers. Hayes has 23 points (9-14-23) in the last 29 games, and will look to stay successful tonight.

kevin hayes 3-29

Kevin Hayes scored his 15th goal of the season, continuing his strong rookie campaign. Hayes has four points in the last four games, and will look to stay hot tonight. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Tanner Glass was rewarded for his hard work with his first goal of the season in the Rangers game against the Senators. While he has had mostly a disappointing season, his play as of late has improved. Glass continues to finish his checks, get the puck in deep, and is shooting a bit more since the goal, nearly scoring against the Capitals if not for the quick glove of Braden Holtby. Glass’ best season of his career came as a member of the Winnipeg Jets, where he posted a career high of 16 points (5-11-16), and was a fan favorite. I expect him to have a bit more motivation tonight in an important game for the Rangers.

Rick Nash is one goal away from tying his career high of 41 set way back in the 2002-03 season with Columbus. Although he did not score on Sunday, Nash played a solid game, and was reunited with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello, a line that had great success for a while. Brassard and Zuccarello have been playing well as of late, so this line will certainly be a factor in tonight’s game.

There is no news on when Martin St. Louis will return. He is apparently close to getting back in the lineup, and is on the trip with the team to Winnipeg. Since there is no new information, assume he is out of the lineup until told differently. Having St. Louis back would really help re-balance the lines, so hopefully he is back for the game against Minnesota.

The Rangers and the Jets will faceoff at the MTS Center at 8 PM. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

EXPECTED LINES (Not Confirmed)

Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-JT Miller

Carl Hagelin-Kevin Hayes-Jesper Fast

Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore-James Sheppard

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle-Matt Hunwick

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on March 31, 2015, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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