Tuesday, February 26, 2013
W2W4: Rangers vs. Jets
By Katie Strang
At a glance: Coming off a dispiriting shutout loss to Montreal on Saturday night, the Rangers open a four-game homestand against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Currently in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers are a point away from climbing back into the playoff picture, and the Jets aren’t far behind. Winnipeg enters Tuesday’s game a point behind the Rangers after a 4-2 win against the Devils on Sunday.
Nash returns to practice: Although the star winger is not expected to play Tuesday, Rick Nash practiced with the team for the first time since being sidelined for three games with an undisclosed injury (believed to be a concussion). Nash said he hopes to play soon and views Tuesday’s step as a positive one toward making a return. That’s good news for the Rangers. The club has gone 0-2-1 without its big-ticket summer acquisition in the lineup.
Depleted on D: Injured defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh, who was forced from Saturday’s 3-0 loss against the Canadiens on Saturday, are both out for Tuesday's game against the Jets. Coach John Tortorella said he will split up Dan Girardi and Marc Staal on defense to achieve some balance on the team's back end.
Back to King: After backup goaltender Martin Biron made his third start of the season against the Canadiens, the Rangers will return to reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist in net Tuesday. Lundqvist is 9-5-6 in 20 career starts against Winnipeg (formerly the Atlanta Thrashers).
Road warriors: The Jets close a five-game road trip aiming to collect their fourth victory with a win against New York in the first of three meetings between the two clubs this season. Andrew Ladd has led the way with three goals and two assists during the team’s trip, and Evander Kane has been one of the team’s top performers. Kane enters Tuesday on a seven-game scoring streak.