For all the silliness, all the rumors, circulating around the New York Rangers theses days, the team remains on the cusp of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
They’ll look to reinsert themselves in the conversation this afternoon as they embark on a four game road trip tonight against the Winnipeg Jets (3:00 PM, MSG+).
In their first game since the front office released a public letter strong implying the team would be sellers at the upcoming trade deadline, the Rangers (26-24-5) picked up a much needed win on Friday night over the Calgary Flames at Madison Square Garden. The win snapped a four game losing streak, and featured a game winning power play goal by Mika Zibanejad. Kevin Hayes, who had a two point night, also scored on the power play, while team scoring leaders and potential movers Michael Grabner and Rick Nash likewise scored. While Ondrej Pavelec was lost to a sprained MCL that will keep him out 2-3 weeks, Henrik Lundqvist stepped in to make 28 saves and earn the much-needed win.
— NHL (@NHL) February 10, 2018
Meanwhile, the Jets (32-14-9) are battling the Nashville Predators for the top spot in the Western Conference’s Central Division. They dropped a 5-2 decision against fellow chaser St. Louis at home on Friday. After falling behind 3-0, Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine cut the deficit to one, but Vladimir Tarasenko put the game away in the third period before Jayden Schwartz scored an empty netter to end scoring.
This will be the first of two meetings between Manhattan and Manitoba, with the Rangers sweeping the pair last season. Back in December 2016, the Rangers got by with a pair of power play goals in the visit to Bell MTS Place, scored by Chris Kreider and Hayes, the latter coming in the penultimate minute to secure the win. Mark Scheifele had the Jets’ goal.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490