The Winnipeg Jets’ playoff hopes took another heavy blow last night at the hands of the New York Rangers at the MTS Centre. The defeat leaves them 8 points adrift of the Buffalo Sabres, who occupy the all-important 8th spot in the east. Hope of making the post-season were high for a while, but a recent run of bad results has seen that small hope quickly fade into disappointment and thoughts of what could have been.
The game got off to a good start, from a Jets point of view. Jets piled on pressure and got a golden chance to make something of it 10:41 into the opening period. With 2 Rangers players in the box, Winnipeg had a 5 on 3 opportunity with just under 2 minutes, a stellar New York penalty kill made sure that didn’t happen. The Jets closed the period still in firm control, but with no goal to show for it.
Into the second period, and it didn’t take long for Winnipeg to finally get reward for their efforts. With 3:58 gone, Spencer Machacek strode down the right wing, and attempted a pass into the middle; his pass took a huge deflection of a Ranger stick and flew through a transitioning Lundqvist’s legs and into the net, 1-0 Jets.
Under a minute later, and Winnipeg’s relentlessness paid off again. Some nifty work from Wheeler ended with him sliding the puck to Bryan Little, who tipped the puck past a scrambling Lundqvist to double the lead, 2-0 with 15:06 remaining in the middle period.
New York seemed to have had enough, and replied quickly and in an impressive manner. The Jets were on a powerplay, but Callahan hustled the puck free in the Winnipeg zone and span round the back of the net and laid off Michael Del Zotto who had the easy task of dispatching the puck in the net, to cut Winnipeg’s lead in half, 2-1 7:44 into the second period.
Soon, the scoreline was even. Alexander Burmistrov had taken a holding penalty, and the Rangers punished him. Marian Gaborik dished the puck to Callahan who had set up shop in front of the net, and after a small scramble, it was Callahan who squeezed the puck home. 2-2 with 1:37 remaining in the second.
The final period had the same feel as the second. It took only 3 minutes for the first goal of the period to occur. Brian Boyle was behind the net, and carried the puck in to the side of the net and flipped the puck goal-bound; it trickled through Pavelec and made it 3-2 Rangers. Pavelec will certainly feel he should have done better.
New York sealed the points on a powerplay. It was Burmistrov again who was in the box, and it was the same offence, holding. After a passing move between a number of players, the puck landed at the feet of Stepan, unmarked, and he fired the puck into the net to make it 4-2, with 9:54 remaining.
The Jets didn’t have what it took to get back into the game, and they fell to another defeat.
Final Score - Winnipeg Jets 2-4 New York Rangers
Goalie Stats -
Winnipeg – O. Pavelec – 24 saves from 28 shots
New York – H. Lundqvist – 22 saves from 28 shots
3 Stars -
1. Michael Del Zotto(NYR)
2. Ryan Callahan(NYR)
3. Evander Kane(WPG)