Time: 6:00 PM CST
Channel: TSN3, MSG+ 2
While the Winnipeg Jets (39-17-9) were busy picking up Paul Stastny and Joe Morrow at trade deadline, they were nowhere near as busy as the New York Rangers (30-30-6) were.
Starting on February 20 and up until the deadline on the 26th, the Rangers traded away Nick Holden, Michael Grabner, Rick Nash, Ryan Graves, Ryan McDonagh, and J.T. Miller. In return, the Rangers received two 1st round picks, a 2nd and a 3rd round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. They also picked up a 7th round pick in 2019 and a conditional 2nd round pick in 2019 that becomes a 1st round pick if the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup this year or next year. The Rangers also received Rob O’Gara, Yegor Rykov, Matt Beleskey, Ryan Lindgren, Ryan Spooner, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, Vladislav Namestnikov and Chris Bigras. Three of those players should be in the lineup tonight (Namestnikov, Spooner and O’Gara), two are in the AHL (Beleskey and Bigras) and the rest are prospects. So the Rangers are in full rebuild, it would seem.
Which is good news for the Jets.
Despite the fact that the Rangers are at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, Winnipeg lost to them by a 3-1 score back on February 11. The Blue Shirts still have familiar names like Henrik Lundqvist kicking around, and guys like Namestnikov can be dangerous, but this is a game the Jets should win,
Well, in the last ten games the Jets have six guys scoring a point-per-game or more, with recently named NHL 2nd star of the week Patrik Laine leading the way with 10 goals and six assists during his last eight games. Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Paul Stastny (in his three games) are also above the point-per-game plateau. Laine has 10 goals on his last 22 shots, which is very impressive, and has put him past Auston Matthews in career points and goals.
On the injury front, Steve Mason gets the start for the first time since January 5 after recovering from his second concussion of the season. Toby Enstrom sits out again, but could be back on Thursday against the New Jersey Devils.
The Rangers are coming off back-to-back wins in Alberta against the Flames and Oilers, while the Jets are riding a win streak of their own, having beaten Detroit then Carolina. This is the Jets’ second of six straight games on the road.
Winnipeg Jets: 39-17-9
Goals: Patrik Laine (35)
Assists: Blake Wheeler (56)
Points: Wheeler (74)
Goalie Stat Leaders:
Wins: Connor Hellebuyck (34)
Goals Against Average: Hellebuyck (2.40)
Save Percentage: Hellebuyck (.922)
Minutes: Hellebuyck (3,181)
Special Teams: PP 24.6% (2nd), PK 82.4% (11th)
New York Rangers: 30-30-6
Goals: Mika Zibanejad (19) (Michael Grabner had 25 before his trade to New Jersey)
Assists: Mats Zuccarello (34)
Points: Zuccarello (44)
Goalie Stat Leaders:
Wins: Henrik Lundqvist (25)
Goals Against Average: Lundqvist (2.89)
Save Percentage: Lundqvist (.916)
Minutes: Lundqvist (3,049)
Special Teams: PP 20.7% (12th), PK 82.8% (6th)