Jets-Rangers Preview

With the way both offenses have been struggling, one goal could

be the difference Monday night when the Winnipeg Jets try to build

their lead atop the Southeast Division and sweep the season series

from the New York Rangers.

Despite their recent offensive woes, the Jets still hold a

slight edge over Carolina and Washington atop in the Southeast as

they play the Rangers for the third time.

Winnipeg, though, hopes to get back on track after dropping its

second straight in a 3-1 home loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday.

The Jets have lost four of six, totaling only two goals in those

losses.

“No one’s more disappointed than us,” coach Claude Noel said.

“The division race is going to get played out (but) it’s not what

we had in mind.”

Noel’s club ranked near the bottom of the league at 2.06 goals

per game in March despite taking 30 or more shots in eight of its

16 games. Winnipeg has also received little from its power play,

converting just 6 of 69 chances (8.7 percent) over its last 27

games.

The Jets may be able to break through in that category since the

Rangers have allowed a power-play goal in six straight contests and

ranked near the bottom of the league in penalty-kill percentage at

73.2 for March.

Winnipeg (18-16-2) has a chance to sweep New York for the first

time since winning all four games in 2002-03, when the franchise

was still in Atlanta.

The Rangers, the NHL’s lowest scoring team at 2.21 goals per

game, have 14 over their last 10 games and were shut out for the

second straight contest in a 3-0 loss at Montreal on Saturday.

“We have to stay positive,” New York coach John Tortorella

said. “We’ll try to correct some things that are going wrong, but

we’ll work on the positives.”

While Tortorella’s club entered the season with high

expectations, the Rangers (16-15-3) remain on the edge of the

Eastern Conference playoff race – tied for eighth place with 14

games left.

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has a 3-2-1 record and a 1.79

goals-against average over his last six starts, has done his best

to keep New York in the hunt.

Lundqvist has taken the loss in both starts against the Jets

this season, but has a 7-4-4 record with a 1.96 GAA in 15 lifetime

starts at home – including the 2007 playoffs – in this series.

Although Ryan Callahan has been mired in an eight-game scoreless

drought, he may be able to give the Rangers a spark in this

contest. He has eight goals in his last 11 games against the

Jets.

Derek Stepan, second on the team with 10 goals, has produced a

point in four of the last five meetings.

Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec will try to keep the Rangers’

offense struggling. He’s won both starts with a 2.00 GAA and a .935

save percentage in the season series.

Evander Kane could be a factor after scoring twice in a 4-3 win

at New York on Feb. 26. He also has six goals and 10 points in 11

career games against the Rangers.