Jets-Rangers Preview

The New York Rangers earned an emotional victory over their

former coach their last time out, capping a busy weekend. They’ll

look to avoid a letdown and put an end to some recent inconsistency

as they host the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.

New York (14-13-0) bounced back from a 3-2 loss at Boston on

Friday by rolling past Vancouver and coach John Tortorella the next

day. Chris Kreider recorded his first career hat trick and Rick

Nash added a goal and two assists as the Rangers knocked off the

Canucks 5-2 in Tortorella’s return to Madison Square Garden.

“For our guys to be able to come to the rink today after a very

disappointing performance, roll up their sleeves, get to work and

do what they needed to do against a real good opponent is a

positive sign in my estimation,” current Rangers coach Alain

Vigneault said.

The win was also special for Vigneault, who led Vancouver from

2006-13.

“I’m happy about getting the two points. I know how hard they

are to get in this league, it’s so competitive night in and night

out,” he said.

That’s been apparent in New York’s past four games, during which

it’s alternated losses and wins. The Rangers have not played beyond

regulation this season.

Though the Rangers haven’t put together a run of sustained

success recently, there have been positive signs in the past few

contests. New York went 2 for 3 on the power play for the second

time in three games after an 0-for-5 effort against the Bruins.

Goaltending also continued to be a strength for the Rangers, as

backup Cam Talbot made 35 saves Saturday and is 6-1-0 with a 1.49

goals-against average this season.

That’s earned the rookie an unexpected second straight start

Tuesday, leaving Henrik Lundqvist to back him up.

“Henrik is definitely the No. 1 goaltender on this team,”

Vigneault said. “He’s proven over the years that he’s one of the

best, if not THE best, in the National Hockey League. But for

tonight’s game I feel the best thing for us is to go with Cam.”

New York has won three of four home meetings with Winnipeg

(12-12-4), which is 2-1-0 on a six-game road trip against Eastern

Conference opponents. The Jets failed to win their third in a row

Friday, falling 2-1 to Philadelphia.

Winnipeg went 0 for 6 on the power play in the morning contest –

which coach Claude Noel hinted might have been a reason for the

lackluster effort.

”We just weren’t very good,” he said. ”Was that (because it

was) an early morning game? I don’t know. That would be a poor

excuse, because (the Flyers were) ready to play.”

Noel’s team was outshot 34-26 and 13-2 in the first period.

Winnipeg had won five in a row against the East.

Nash, meanwhile, has scored in three straight for the Rangers.

He had a goal and an assist in New York’s most recent meeting with

Winnipeg, a 4-2 Rangers win at MSG on April 1.

Ryan Callahan had a goal and three assists in that matchup,

giving him a five-game goal streak in the series. He’s recorded

five goals and five assists in that span.

Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele has a goal and three assists during a

four-game point streak, but the Jets have gone 0 for 12 on the

power play in the past four games.

“(The Rangers) have a lot of talent as well, but they are

physical and they play hard in their building, they come after you,

so a good first period is huge for us,” defenseman Mark Stuart

said. “If we can get that first goal, especially on the road,

getting that first goal is really big so we need the good

start.”