GameDay Preview: Winnipeg Jets enter Madison Square Gardens intent on beating New York Rangers

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets look to rebound after a rough outing as they take on the New York Rangers

The Winnipeg Jets have has some time off since their last outing. They surely got some rest and even played in the park, but they are back to business this evening as they take on New York Rangers. This game, like every game from here out will be pivotal for our team of choice. The Jets need to continue to stack points in the standings.

Both teams come into tonight's game straddling .500 (points percentage). The Jets and the Rangers each have amassed 28 points in the standings although the rangers have played one more game.  Those twenty eight points is enough to rank the Rangers 3rd in the Metropolitan division, but leave the Jets at the bottom of the Central - seventh out of seven teams so the Jets need this win more than the rangers.

Keys to the Game:

Winnipeg Jets

Score first: Not because the Rangers have a garish record when scoring first, but because every team increases their odds of winning by scoring first. It is math.

Play ugly unwatchable hockey: The Jets don't really have a choice in this one. Evander Kane is out with an injury and instead of attempting to replace his scoring the Jets have elected to roll with Chris Thorburn and John Albert on an NHL ice surface. In past I have lamented the fact that the Jets bottom six features and over-abundance of non-scoring AHL talent - now the top six is going that route. Fun!! The Jets won't win this game by playing pretty, it will be all about work before skill - or in some cases work in the absence of skill.

Cam may be tall but...: The 6'3 netminder is beatable. Cam Talbot came out of nowhere to smash NHL shooters and make the net feel really really tiny. Talbot has seen the ice in 8 games and has more shutouts (2) than losses (1). He is being given this game over a healthy Henrik Lundqvist due to a .944 sv% and 1.49 GAA. Those numbers will not sustain themselves. Get in there Bryan Little. Shoot shoot shoot Andrew Ladd, snap a couple home Mark Scheifele.. I mean... Schnipele. Force some regression.

New York Rangers

Line matching: Rangers Alain Vigneault is well known in nerd circles for his use of offensive and defensive zone starts to improve the odds for his scorers. For example Carl Hagelin's O/Dst% is 76.3, meanwhile Dominic Moore is getting shoved deep into the defensive zone with an O/Dst% of 23.6%. Tonight might be the night to lay off that a little. Dodging his normal usage patterns may allow him to get scorers out there versus should be AHLers.

Score a couple goals: The Winnipeg Jets are not dressing the most offensively gifted lineup in the NHL. Get a couple past Ondrej Pavelec and watch the Jets squirm. Get up three and they can freely laugh and point from the bench.

Punch people in the face: Agitate, get under people's skin. Bring on the fisticuffs. The Winnipeg Jets actually allow goals at a faster clip while they are up a man than they do at even strength. There is no good reason for the Rangers to not take liberties. Do it. Thorburn won't hurt you, Anthony Peluso might though.

Player to Boo Mercilously:

Chris Krieder - because striking a nerve might make Chris cry-der.

Prediction:

Jets 3

Rags 2

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