Winnipeg Jets vs New York Rangers February 26, 2013 Gameday Preview

Bruce Fedyck-US PRESSWIRE

The Jets finish their five game road trip at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday evening hoping to nab their fourth win of the trip.

Game Preview:

The Winnipeg Jets play under the bright lights of New York City on Tuesday as they visit the New York Rangers. The current road trip has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for the Jets. They have won three of the four games so far, but caused some stress for fans when they blew a lead against Philadelphia on Saturday. They followed a different script on Sunday in New Jersey when they pulled off a come from behind victory against the Devils.

Coming off a terrific regular season in 2011-12, the New York Rangers had high expectations this year. Those expectations were buoyed by the acquisition of Rick Nash. But a lack of goal scoring has seen the Rangers start the season poorly. A recent spate of injuries has made it difficult for the Rangers to improve their 10th place position in the Eastern Conference standings.

Nash is still out --but should return soon-- and the Rangers are really hurting on the blue line. Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi are all dealing with various ailments. McDonagh is the only one of the defence group who will definitely not be in action against Winnipeg, but the other three are probably not at 100%, leaving the Rangers' defence vulnerable.

For Winnipeg, Dustin Byfuglien should be in the lineup in spite of his own lower body injury. But Antti Miettinen's return to the lineup was brief, as he is back on the shelf again, with Chris Thorburn returning to the lineup.

Keys to the Game:

Winnipeg Jets

  • Put pucks on the net: With Henrik Lundqvist in goal, it is tough to score goals against the Rangers under any circumstances, so it is especially important to get a high percentage of shots on net.
  • Utilize your speed: The Rangers defence is a bit gimpy right now, so the Jets should try to make their lives as difficult as possible by skating them into the ice.

New York Rangers

  • Clear the defensive zone: Keeping the shifts of their defencemen as short as possible will be a priority for the Rangers, expect a lot of quick flips out to the neutral zone.
  • Focus on Jets 3rd defence pair: The Rangers are the home team and can play the match up game. They should place a high priority on trying to get players like Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik matched up with the likes of Paul Postma and Grant Clitsome.

Prediction:

Jets 2

Rangers 3

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