Winnipeg - January 24, 2012 - The New York Rangers have allowed a league low 96 goals against while battling for first in the Eastern Conference. Only Boston (97) and St. Louis (99) have allowed under 100 goals against so far. On the flip side the Jets have allowed 144 goals while only scoring 124 times. It’s not hard to see why the Rangers are one of the top teams in the league and the Jets are not.
In two previous match ups the Rangers have owned the Winnipeg Jets. They get a Winnipeg team that has dropped a shoot out loss to Florida at home and a 2-1 loss to Carolina last night on the road. There are few in New York that are concerned about this game but then we felt the same way about Carolina last night.
The Rangers are one of the best teams with one of the best goalies in the NHL this season.
The Jets lost against Carolina for the first time all season last night while the Toronto Maple Leafs won to move two more points ahead of the Jets. Drawing the New York Rangers on a back to back game right before the All-Star break was not what this team needs. The Jets are 0-7-0 on back to back games and have another five to play after tonight's affair.
The Jets got down early for the second game in a row and the 2-0 lead this time was more than they could overcome despite out shooting the Hurricanes 30-16 and 14-2 in the final period. If the Jets can ever maintain the type of pressure they had in the third period for a full sixty minutes they would be in the discussion of the top teams in the league but right now the Jekyll and Hyde show continues in Peg City.
While Dustin Byfuglien was officially replaced in the NHL All-Star game leaving the Jets with no representation in Ottawa this weekend, the more important concern is when Big Buff can return to the Jets. While their goals against has gone down since his injury so too has the win total.
Keys to Victory
Avoid the back to back game suck fest. So far in back to backs the Jets are not only 0-7 but have looked awful in a few of those loses. The Rangers are not a team you want to give a lead to and if the Jets draw Henrik Lundqvist a slow start could mean game over.
Take a page from Florida. The Panthers may have looked a little sluggish by the third period and were hanging on for dear life in the overtime but they came out hard and fast despite every excuse to mail it in. They jumped to an early lead and put pressure on the Jets. Winnipeg has to do that to have a chance in this game, they need to score first and they need to score in the first period.
Pray, it’s not very often I get religious but lets face facts. The Jets best chance to win this game is some sort of divine intervention or miracle.
Dustin Byfuglien (knee) out
Tim Stapleton (lower body) out
Evander Kane (concussion) out
Jets – Ondrej Pavelec (unconfirmed)
Hurricanes – Martin Biron (unconfirmed)
Until the Jets can win a back to back game I’m certainly not going to predict one against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Rangers in an ugly one.
Winnipeg Jets 2 – New York Rangers 6