The Winnipeg Jets, who lost to the Devils 3-2 in OT in Newark last night, commute into the Garden tonight as the Rangers (6-3-3) close out their six-game homestand. The Blueshirts are 3-1-1 so far, including the 5-3 defeat of the Canadiens last night. Jets are 5-6-2.
Note: After 12 games last season, the Rangers record was 6-5-1. After 13, 7-5-1.
Without a spare forward or d-man, the Rangers will dress the same 18 skaters, although Martin Biron could get the start in goal. Biron, who made 27 saves to stifle the Jets in Manitoba 2-1 on Oct. 24, did skate in the optional practice yesterday, although the team had no skate this morning.
But consider: If Henrik Lundqvist plays in the back to back and coach John Tortorella holds Biron until Wednesday in Ottawa, Lundqvist wouldn’t play again until Friday, which would give him four days off before coming back to MSG to host Carolina.
We won’t know about tonight until Torts meets the press in the league-required briefing before the game at 4:50 p.m.
Ondrej Pavlelec was in goal last night in New Jersey for the Jets, and likely will be again tonight. Chris Mason (groin) is on IR; Peter Mannino was the backup. Former Ranger and Leaf Nik Antropov was scratched.
In that Oct. 24 game, which ended the long road trip, Ryan Callahan scored the winner on a right-side rush and centering pass that banked off the skate of Zach Bogosian and past Mason. The Rangers had just 17 shots. The other goal also was a PPG, from Ruslan Fedotenko. Brandon Prust had a first-period fight with Tanner Glass.
Sometime before the Ottawa game, Rangers will have 7 D, with addition of Anton Stralman. A spare forward? Maybe Carl Hagelin, who scored his fourth goal last night in CT, or Ryan Bourque. More from MSG later….