If the New York Rangers are truly about to embark on an unfathomable playoff push, they’ll have to first get through a brutal week that features meetings with one of the Western Conference’s top squads, as well as two red hot Floridian teams.
The lone home game in that stretch comes tonight at Madison Square Garden, as the Rangers square off against the Winnipeg Jets (7:00 PM, MSG).
The Rangers (30-30-6) are now back in the Eastern Conference wild card hunt, five points behind Metropolitan rival Columbus entering tonight’s games. They surprisingly swept three games from Western Canada opposition, capping that run off with a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. Chris Kreider opened things up with a goal just 54 seconds in, while Mika Zibanejad and Paul Carey helped put the Oilers away with scores of their own. Though Alexander Georgiev wasn’t forced to make 50 saves like Henrik Lundqvist has in his last two games, he still made 35 saves in earning his first career NHL win.
CHRIS KREIDER OPENS THE SCORING UP FOR THE RANGERS! pic.twitter.com/f1EkEPRTQS
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) March 4, 2018
In terms of playoff status, the Jets (39-17-9) are relatively safe, but they’re looking to improve their positioning, as they currently trail the Nashville Predators by six points for the top seed in the Central Division, each with 17 games remaining. Since a 3-1 loss to the Rangers on February 11, the Jets have gone 7-2-0, including their 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night. Patrik Laine contributed to all three scores, nabbing two goals and an assist.
Patrik Laine scores the 70th goal of his NHL career: pic.twitter.com/NjvhZYtaAM
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 5, 2018
In the 3-1 Rangers win at Bell MTS Place, Nikolaj Ehlers and Mats Zuccarello scored first period goals before Lundqvist went head-to-head with Connor Hellebuyuck in net. It was Jimmy Vesey who finally broke through for the Rangers, his 11th of the year with three minutes left putting them ahead for good.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490