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Game 26 Preview: Rangers at Winnipeg

Al Bello/Getty Images

Al Bello/Getty Images

The last time the Rangers faced the Jets, they were on the losing end of a 4-3 score that signified when the Rangers started to turn the season around. It was that Ryan Callahan shift where he lost his stick, blocked a shot, hit someone, then blocked another shot, where the Rangers started seeing what they need to do to win. Following that loss to the Jets, the Rangers have gone 5-2, while the Jets have gone 4-2-1.

Both teams are tied with 28 points, but the Rangers have a game in hand, which is why they sit as the #8 seed and the Jets sit at #9 and out of the playoffs. The Jets may be overachieving (-8 goal differential), but the fact remains that this game has serious playoff implications. Should the Jets win, they will pass the Rangers in the standings and hold the second tiebreaker (after regulation/OT wins) over the Rangers.

Claude Noel has the Jets playing a passive 1-2-2 forecheck. Their game plan is to sick back in the neutral zone and score off of transition rushes. This really isn’t a team that is going to press the issue with an aggressive forecheck and heavy hitting below the goal line like the Blueshirts. They only really come after in certain game situations.

Winnipeg also plays a low zone collapse in their own end zone, but they tend to over commit on the puck carrier and often get burned in the process. The Jets team defense is shoddy and their goaltending is mediocre, so this should be an opportunity for the Rangers to light the lamp early and often. But as we’ve seen, bad goaltending hasn’t been an advantage (see Tuesday’s game).

On special teams, the Jets run an umbrella powerplay strategy and a simple box penalty kill. They do not challenge the points on the PK, which should give the Rangers’ new look powerplay some room to maneuver. With that said, most penalty kills alter based on the powerplay they are facing.

For more on Tortorella’s systems read here.

2012-2013 Records: Winnipeg (13-11-2), Rangers (13-10-2)

NYR Leading Scorer: Rick Nash (9-14-23)
WPG Leading Scorer: Andrew Ladd (13-12-25)

NYR Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (21 GP, 2.28 GAA, .919 SV%)
WPG Goaltender: Ondrej Pavelec (23 GP, 2.78 GAA, .903 SV%)

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Rangers Lines: 

Marian Gaborik-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Rick Nash
Taylor Pyatt-Brian Boyle-JT Miller
Micheal Haley-Jeff Halpern-Darroll Powe

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto-Anton Stralman
Steve Eminger-Roman Hamrlik

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratches/Injuries:  Mike Sauer (concussion), Arron Asham (back), Marc Staal (eye), Stu Bickel (healthy), Matt Gilroy (healthy)

Broadcast Info: MSG, 8pm

Torts post-game interview from Tuesday:

47 Responses to “Game 26 Preview: Rangers at Winnipeg”

  1. Matt Josephs says:

    I saw how many goals Andrew Ladd has and I was pretty surprised. Then I wasn’t surprised when I saw he was shooting 20%. I then thought that definitely had to be the highest among players with 10 or more goals right now and then I saw these numbers:

    Chris Kunitz: 30% (Even playing with Crosby I’m not sure how you explain this. 30% is ridiculous).

    Jeff Carter 23%

    Patrick Berglund 27%

    Brad Marchand 27%

    Chris Stewart 21%

    Jeff Carter’s a definite goal scorer but he’s shooting almost 10% above average. Hard to believe he’s only an 11% shooter though.

    Nazem Kadri is also shooting at 20% but it’s a small sample size for him and that may not be too far off from his career shooting percentage in the future.

    Just a weird year for goalscoring.

  2. Dave says:

    Thats something I’ve noticed in a short season, prolonged hot streaks like these have less time to regress to the mean.

  3. Chris F says:

    So much for Winnipeg not being a physical, hard hitting team; so much for mediocre goaltending.

    This is becoming unbearably frustrating. The inconsistency is pathetic and inexcusable. This team simply cannot get clean chances when they’re off; and we are continually getting outworked and outmusceled.

    So, when do we hit the panic button? After Saturday, we’re facing a 3 game losing streak.

    • Chris F says:

      And don’t get me wrong, in comparison to the Buffalo game, this was a good effort.

      This loss was not the result of a lack of effort, the Rangers fought hard, but were simply outmatched (a troubling thought considering the opponent). The skill simply wasn’t there. Too many missed shots, too many chippy pucks, too many bad passes and turnovers. I saw 3 or 4 chances that could have been a sure goal, but alas, each time, the Rangers couldn’t even get a shot off.

      What is the problem with this team (not a venting, rhetorical question)? Honestly, what isn’t clicking?

  4. rickyrants13 says:

    This all comes down to the coach. When your ALLSTAR GOALIE. Is playing like poop. And yor so called ALLSTAR forward Gaborik is playing like a PTO. It has to come down to the coach…

    This coach lost them before he went on that CRYBABY RANT the other night. And I guess the Rangers showed him just how bad they suck…

    This is pathetic. This team has no buisness losing like they have to two pathetic teams. If Sather woke up tomorrow and fired Torts. It wouldnt even faze Me one bit. Something isnt right here. And it has to fall on someone..

    No one in here will allow anyone to blame the GOALIE or Gaborik. Or the Captain SO IT HAS TO BE THE COACH…

    • Spozo says:

      I’m not going to disagree with everything you say here (for a change) just one part. I don’t see how you can put a crappy lundqvist performance on Tortarellas shoulders. If CC Sabathia pitches like crap on a given night you dont blame Joe Girardi. You either blame the pitching coach or the pitcher. A head coach has much more to do with team play than individual performances. Put the teams lack of effort and execution on Tortz. But put Hanks performance on his own shoulders. Secondary would be Beniot Allaire.

      • jb says:

        In what game was Hank crappy and/or poopy?

        • rickyrants13 says:

          The last two Or were you not paying attention. He gave UP six goals to Buffalo and the Jets. He was far from being a KING in ither

          • VinceR says:

            Henke is not playing like he has last year, and not fully up to seasons before, but “poop” is a pretty poor description. A lot of goalies would have given up at least 4 more goals in both those games…he bailed the team out when being hung out to dry multiple times just last night. Literally no goalie makes a save on that second goal…he couldn’t see it, and it made a crazy deflection that wasn’t even intentional. And why do you keep using the “KING” against him? It’s not like he gave himself the nickname. Our ridiculous, over-reactive fanbase did after about a half a period his rookie season. Then he lived up to it for a number of seasons, then he his having a season (in a crazy shortened season) that is not up to his standards but better than most goalies in the league(still top 10) and he is poop now. Alright.

            But he faced 32 shots, let in *2* (not three, are we really counting empty netters against him now?). .938 save percentage is garbage now? Is it reasonable to score 1 goal and pray for shutouts?

            With that said, there is no way they should have lost against these two teams. And I’m about done hoping for a turnaround by Gabby, he was given his chances last night. But also look around and not one player had a decent game (maybe Cally).

            It’s getting down to do or die time. Hoping for an LA Kings type of run near the end here (and maybe without cheating to make the playoffs..how do we not here about that illegal play on the puck from the bench last year? The Stanley cup winner shouldn’t have made playoffs!).

            Don’t forget how many games we won in the third period last year. Don’t forget how infamous Torts is for his strenuous/endurance based training camps. That was the whole point of them. We didn’t have that luxury which is why this team is not up to their expectations while last year’s team wildly over-achieved.

            • rickyrants13 says:

              I have told you in the past why I use the KING against him. It is used to point out to those fans that DID give him that name. That he can also be the reason we lose some games as well as win some. Like I have said many times in here WE can not only give him credit when we win.

              Hank is a good goalie. But he is also human. And many times he doesnt show up when we need him most. Its easy to give him credit when he makes 30 saves in a game we win. But not many are willing to get on him when TEAMS we should beat with our eyes closed Beat us. The past two games could have been the games we walked out saying Our goalie stole the show. But the other teams goalie did.

              • VinceR says:

                DUDE THEY SCORED ONE EFFING GOAL LAST NIGHT!!!! No one gives him credit for every game we win, but you are the ONLY person to rail against him every time we lose a 1-0 game!

                He hasn’t stolen a game this season, and no one has given him credit for doing so. In past seasons he did. He literally was the reason for us winning some games, meaning they were crap on offense, the D allowed many opportunities, and he made miracle saves to allow a 1 goal game to stand up.

                Some games we win and he has not much to do with it (not many opportunities by the other team, most shots from the outside, etc).

                Some games we lose and he has not much to do with the reason we lost (last night), some games we lose and he does have something to do with it (goals he should have saved).

                The issue is every time we lose, you seem to think he should have won it for us, no matter how he actually played or how those around him played. He played great last night! The team played sh*TTy. It’s not about the Ws and Ls when it comes to assessing an individual’s performance….if that was the case Rick Nash would be called sh*t for his whole career.

                I feel like you tend to oversimplify and say Henke is crappy when we lose and he is fine when we win. That’s a little bit over-simplified, don’t ya think?

          • jb says:

            ^that and while I agree he hasn’t been lights out every night stealing games for us, he has been good.
            4 of the 5 goals scored in the last games were scored around the net… the D cant let players park infront of Hank, screen, tip and get to every rebound

      • rickyrants13 says:

        The coach has the power to change goalies. Or to start another. I hope he gets it and starts Biron tomorrow. I know we are playing Pit but a message other then WE SUCK and a cry baby rant needs to get thru.

      • Joe says:

        you guys need to open your eyes! This coach has lost the team! They no longer want to play for the man! This is what hppens when you have a D***head for a boss!

  5. Chuck A says:

    In perusing the remaining games, the results of the effort expended since the season began leads me to hope for not much more than a .500 season.

    Bust.

  6. Mikeyyy says:

    Predictable play with a predictable score.

    They came in hungry, we couldn’t get anything going.

    Disjointed for most of the game.

    And the Jets watched video because they were ready for us.

    Golf anyone?

  7. Walt says:

    Gabby hasn’t scored in some 12-13 games????

    The man is holding the stick too tight, and he is having mind games with himself. On the penality shot, he lost control of the puck, and blew a chance to score. WHY??

    Someone asked me yesterday if I’d trade Gabby for Buff, any day of the week is the answer!!

  8. Sally says:

    I enjoy watching hockey because my kids played (my daughter at UCONN) but I’m no expert. My son says that with the offensive talent the Rangers have they should be doing a run and gun offense. He pointed out that when you have Nash, Hags and Gaborik grinding along the boards you slow down the game and they waste all their energy along the boards and have nothing left for an offensive drive. What do you guys think?

    • Rob says:

      Sully depends on what you mean by “run n gun?” The Rangers try to play that kind of Hockey IMO, by playing an aggressive 2-1-2 forecheck w strong side d-man pinching in. Some would think that a run n gun offence is a more of conservative team that waits for mistakes then counters, usually this results in odd-man rushes the other way (think Montreal). But if anyone saw the game last night Im sure they would agree that we couldnt even get out of our own zone to even generate much offense. Honestly didnt think we played that bad against Buff. Coach buggeded out over Gabby, Ritchie, and Nash and the whole team had to pay in practice hence the flat performance last night me thinks.

  9. SalMerc says:

    I think that the NYR go as Nash goes, and on the road, the opposition gets the last change and thus the match-up they want. If they shut down the Nash line (see Buffalo & Winnipeg) we need the 3 other lines to step up. They didn’t. We need out goalie to be super (he wasn’t) and we need the D to steup up and join the offense as well as play well. They did okay, but the lack of Stall is making D 5 & 6 look vulnerable.
    Not sure there is an easy answer to their issues.

  10. rickyrants13 says:

    No breakdown from last nights game SPEAKS VOLUMES in here.

    • VinceR says:

      It doesn’t at all…before the game they announced on Twitter no one would be available for it. If they won 10-0 there still wouldn’t have been one.

      • rickyrants13 says:

        There has been two posts today NOT ONE on last nights game. NOW WHAT????

        • VinceR says:

          Dude, they said last night…BEFORE THE GAME…there would be no goal recap. That means, that yes, the articles that were most likely written days before and scheduled to go out will be published on the site. Likely these articles were cued before the game last night. I wrote only one article for the site, but it was finished and scheduled days in advance, which is what most blogs do since this isn’t anyone’s day job. Unfortunately recaps need to be written at specific times.

          They write plenty of articles after bad games, including Buffalo which was much worse of a game, so how exactly does it speak volumes?

    • Dave says:

      Are you serious Ricky? I had eye surgery this morning. No one else was available. Go crawl back to your little hole you ignorant prick.

      • VinceR says:

        Well clearly you scheduled it for this morning since it was a bad game…we’ll ignore there was a recap for the crappy Buffalo game and almost every game, good or bad. Ricky isn’t afraid to point it out. He’s no ass kisser.

        He is our brave hero.

        • rickyrants13 says:

          No one was pointing fingers at you. Dave There are way more then 4 people who post here. NOT JUST ONE. And I dont agree with many things you and the others say about the Rangers and you all dont agree with Me. I dont seem toremember calling any of you names in here DO I?

          That crap is for the Devils forums NOT HERE.

          I am not here to call anyone names. Im here to give this forum a side you guys dont give it. aside that some other come in here and give and many times what they write is ignored.

          • Dave says:

            I do not take it lightly when someone calls out the integrity of this blog, something that I’ve put 5 years of my life into.

            As Vince said, none of us were available. We have lives, bills, family, friends, and other things that keep us from writing all the time. It’s why there are 5 of us.

            I don’t care if you disagree with our point of view or our optimism. I really don’t. But if you call out the integrity of this blog again, I will ban you from here. Consider this your first and final warning.

  11. Chris F says:

    Those people calling out Lundqvist for his play last night are insane. He gave up two goals, but stood on his head for most of the game keeping the Rangers in it despite being peppered with shots from all angles amid frantic traffic and chaos out front.

    The Jets came hard with aggression and speed, with great opportunities by Kane, Ladd, Antropov, Jokinen, etc. and Hank stood his ground.

    Great effort on his part.

  12. rickyrants13 says:

    Thats what ALLSTAR GOALIES are suppose to do against PATHETIC TEAMS. This is a team that good teams should beat even if their goalie has to stand on his head.

    • Spozo says:

      SO which gOALS were HANK supposed TO stop LASTNIGHT since HE is AN allstar GOALIE.

    • VinceR says:

      Ricky, I’m just asking you to lose logic here. How does a goalie, allstar or not, stop a shot he can’t see that gets deflected. He is in position for the initial shot, can’t see it. It bounces off someone in front, who didn’t even mean to touch it and therefore doesn’t even give a hint he is deflecting it, and it takes a crazy bounce in a direction that no one could have predicted.

      Now the first goal, also took 2 or 3 crazy deflections and it was knocked in…maybe he could have stopped it, but it was not a weak goal.

      Either way, he still had a .938 save percentage last night, which is an allstar number. Also he got third star of the game, which granted is subjective, but does show that those voters all disagreed with you.

      Henke is not beyond reproach, but when it comes to games you want to criticize him on, you just pick your battles really, really strangely.

    • Chris F says:

      Ricky,

      So, you admit that Hank had to stand on his head last night, yet you still are blaming Hank for the loss? In what world should a coach pull an all-star goalie (or bench him the following game) for giving up 2 goals in a game that had an intense playoff atmosphere? Winnipeg fans are tough to filter out, but Hank stood tall.

      Blame the team in front of him for not producing more than a goal.

    • Rob says:

      Hank is prob just as pissed for playing for a team for 7-8 seasons having to win 1-0,and 2-1 games night in and out. But youre hear damning him for not continuing to do so… Think about it for a second. Has this team EVER really been able to score in front of him since hes been here?

      • rickyrants13 says:

        They scored Rather well many of times with Jagr. Ask yourself this. Did you ever once here Marty cry over it???

        And I agree with you its not all his fault. And I have said that But you all just keep harping on the Hank subject.

        And I think I know why. Because this way you dont have to admit at all that this team has a problem somewhere. And then pick it apart…

        Its Either the goalie, The coach the Captain or the guys that are paid 5865895635428534 dollars that arent scoring That are the problem.

        Which one is it???

        • Rob says:

          Well it’s NOT Hank thats the problem! Ye Jagr Nylander and Straka. Thats it! And you wanna compare it to the teams that Blodeur had?!?! The Rangers would give up more breakaways in just ONE of those years compared to Blodeurs whole Devil career. Sure Hank wouldnt complain either with a conservative trap team in front of him. Jeez…..Put Hank with those Dev teams. Betcha they would win 3 with them like he did, maybe more. Think Blodeur would have changed anything other then one cup if you put him on our team?

          • rickyrants13 says:

            Once again missed the point. Sure he had it easyer then Hank But he still had to win many if not mostly ONE GOAL games Thats the point Not who played in front of him.

  13. rickyrants13 says:

    Wait a min here. Once again you are all jumping on one part of the boat. You better watch that or the boat will sink.

    Dont any of you think it would be nice to see our ALLSTAR GOALIE steal a game against a team he should NO MATTER WHAT. Isnt that what we pay him for.

    For crists sake here. If you jump on Torts in here. IT ISNT HIS FAULT…

    If you jump on Hanks fault he cant save them all.

    If you jump on Richards, Gabby or anyone else in here ITS GAME ON. Give it a rest the blame has to go to someone.

    It seems like the only one that can be blamed on this team is Bikle, Boyle or Gilroy. Listen you may not like it but there are many things that arent right with this team. AND I AM NOT AFFRAID to point them out. Many people will not go on this sight or ones like it. Because all they want in here is ASS KISSERS and Cheerleaders…

    I AM a Rangers fan. A very fustrated Rangers fan. I see the team when they are good and I see the team when they are bad. And for the most part they have been closer to bad this year Then they have been good.

    Their ALLSTAR goalie has one more win then he has loses. NEGITIVE

    Their ALLSTAR forward has scored ONE goal in the past two weeks in an OT game. NEGITIVE

    Their coach keeps playing playerrs out of position. And players who are not playing well at all. NEGITIVE. He also has been rude to his players as well as MSG announcers and Media personel. NEGITIVE

    The team also doesnt have much leadership Because they do not come out to play on many nights. NEGITIVE

    And if its not the leadership then it goes back to the coach losing his team. NEGITIVE

    And the funny thing is everyone keeps bitching that the top two lines cant score in this system. And then they wonder why the other lines cant score.

    I will tell you this. The Rangers better stop drafting players like Kreider, Hags and Miller. Because if Nash and Gaborik cant get it done in this system thosee kids never will as well.

    Maybe just maybe we are seeing why AA, and Duby never took it to the next levels here. Anyone check out what Prospals doing lately???

    • VinceR says:

      You aren’t even worth it sometimes…and you are right, Dave got eye surgery to avoid writing a recap, even though one was done for the crappier Buffalo game.

      And yes, you are BRAVE, not an unreasonable ranting and annoying lunatic. Look at the hero everyone, he is unafraid to find blame and rant when things don’t go how he wants them!

      And he’s brave enough to point out that our Allstars are under performing so it must be the fault of the coach who also coached them last season when they were playing fine! And bravely ignores the fact Hagelin, Step, and Cally have all grown under him!

      And how he bravely creates straw man arguments to disprove!

    • VinceR says:

      How can we be asskissers? You think Torts reads the blog? My god dude, get a grip. This ain’t your real life. Brave!

  14. rickyrants13 says:

    Wow thats the best you have??? More put downs. If you took half the time to see what I see Rather then just argue with Me you might see what many others allready see.

    Do you people ever say anything negitive about this team??? And listen here this team had isues last year too I pointed them out then as well And you know what all of it came back to bite us in the ass then too. O and guess what That can and more then likly will this year too.

    And hey I do like to talk the good as well as the bad. But when we win we are all pretty much seeing the same things.

    But just the fact that I have to write this just goes to show that We do not see the same things when WE LOSE. So your dam right that your gonna hear from Me more when we lose.

    But I will tell you this right now And Im sure others will feel the same way. If you dont want Me in here I will gladly go away.

    • Dave says:

      When we are negative, we do it in a constructive manner. There is no point in creating posts just bitching about what is going wrong.

      Chris’ post this morning is a negative post. But it doesn’t come off that way because complaining gets you nowhere. Constructive arguments and thought out posts are what we do here. We don’t complain.

  15. rickyrants13 says:

    O and Dave I wish you all the best in your recovery