Final SO

Series (Game 2 of 4)

Winnipeg leads 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, November 12th
Game 2: Monday, December 14th
Game 3: Thursday, January 7th
Game 4: Friday, March 12th

Jets 3

(17-11-3, 37 pts)

Rangers 2

(14-15-3, 31 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 14, 2009

Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

1 2 3 SO T
WPG 1 0 1 13
NYR 0 1 1 02

J. Hedberg (Jets - G): Saves: 46, Save Pct.: .958

M. Del Zotto (Rangers - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

M. Gaborik (Rangers - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Thrashers-Rangers Preview


Marian Gaborik has been producing, but the New York Rangers are struggling to score. Ilya Kovalchuk helped the offensively challenged Atlanta Thrashers stop a losing streak in their last game.

Two of the top offensive threats in the NHL will be on the Madison Square Garden ice Monday night, with Gaborik trying to help the Rangers win for just the second time in eight tries against Kovalchuk's Thrashers.

Gaborik has been everything the Rangers (14-15-2) expected when they signed him as a free agent during the offseason, as the speedy forward leads the NHL with 22 goals and is tied for second with 41 points, just three off the league lead.

The problem for New York is that no one else has been scoring. The Rangers' next-highest goal scorers behind Gaborik are Ryan Callahan, Ales Kotalik and Vaclav Prospal, each of whom has six.

Kotalik hasn't scored in 13 games, while Prospal's drought is at nine. Callahan did score three times in his last seven games, one of which came Saturday on an assist from Gaborik in a 3-2 loss to Buffalo.

Gaborik had a goal and an assist, but New York couldn't score more than two goals for the sixth game in a row despite outshooting the Sabres 38-32. Henrik Lundqvist gave up the deciding goal to Patrick Kaleta, a short-handed tally, midway through the second period.

"You get one scored on you, and the way we are struggling to be consistent offensively, it is just a kick in the teeth," said coach John Tortorella, whose team went 1-5-1 in its last seven and is 7-14-2 since a seven-game winning streak in October.

Gaborik recorded three goals and five assists in the last seven games.

He was outscored by Kovalchuk in the last meeting with the Thrashers, a 5-3 Rangers home loss Nov. 12. Gaborik has a goal and an assist, but Kovalchuk's goal and two assists helped lift Atlanta.

Gaborik had six goals and four assists in his last seven matchups with the Thrashers -- six while with Minnesota.

Kovalchuk, meanwhile, has been very productive versus the Rangers with 14 goals and 14 assists in 27 games. He has recorded six goals and seven assists in 13 contests at MSG.

The left wing leads Atlanta with 17 goals and 30 points in 24 games.

Kovalchuk delivered again Saturday, scoring 1:18 into overtime to give Atlanta a 4-3 win over Montreal that snapped a three-game losing streak.

He had an assist in the second period as the Thrashers overcame a two-goal deficit for the victory. Atlanta's skid, during which it was outscored 12-5, has come on the road after the club started the season 9-2-1 away from home.

Like Gaborik, Kovalchuk has not gotten much help from his teammates lately. Right wing Maxim Afinogenov has 11 goals and center Rich Peverley 10, but they combined for no goals and four assists while the Thrashers dropped four of their last six.