NY Rangers at Winnipeg
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Thursday, December 8, 2016
Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
The New York Rangers arrive in Winnipeg to play the Jets on Thursday having lost six of their past 10 games and continuing to add players to the injured list. Forwards Matt Puempel and Rick Nash were hurt in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Islanders, forcing the Rangers to play with only 10 forwards for the final 33 minutes in falling to 4-5-1 since a 13-4-0 start.
“It’s important for us not to look for excuses and try to be there every night,” Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist told reporters after allowing four goals on 32 shots in losing for the second time in his past three starts. The Jets are 4-1-1 in their past six games but let a point slip away Tuesday at home, losing an early 3-1 lead in falling 4-3 in a shootout to Detroit. Winnipeg’s list of wounded shrunk during its recent surge and the Jets are hoping center Mark Scheifele - the Jets' points leader with 26 - returns Thursday. “We’ll skate him (Thursday morning) and see how he feels,” Jets coach Paul Maurice told reporters after Scheifele skated during Wednesday’s practice.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), TSN3 (Winnipeg)
ABOUT THE RANGERS (17-9-1): New York will have forward Michael Grabner in the lineup Thursday after he missed Tuesday’s game due to the death of his grandmother, but losing Nash to a groin injury is another blow to the NHL’s highest-scoring team (97 goals). Nash has 18 points (11 goals) in 27 games and had points in three of his past four contests. Lundqvist, who did not give up more than three goals in any of his first 15 appearances of the season, allowed four goals in three of his past six contests.
ABOUT THE JETS (13-13-3): The return of Bryan Little from a lower-body injury has softened the loss of Scheifele, who missed the past three contests with a lower-body injury. Little is centering Winnipeg’s top line which features rookie forward Patrik Laine, who scored his 17th goal Tuesday and has three two-point games in his past four contests (four goals, two assists). The Jets struggled after a strong opening period Tuesday, not registering a shot for the first 14 minutes of the third period and going 1-for-4 in the shootout.
1. Winnipeg ranks in the bottom 10 in the NHL in penalty kill, but has not allowed a power-play goal in five of the past six games.
2. Puempel suffered a concussion in the first period Tuesday and will undergo protocol, while forward Jimmy Vesey (upper-body injury) did not practice Wednesday but is day-to-day.
3. Kevin Klein and Brandon Pirri each recorded two assists as the Rangers beat the Jets 5-2 on Nov. 6 in New York; Scheifele finished with a goal and an assist.
PREDICTION: Jets 3, Rangers 2
Stats and Records