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Munz: Jets have work cut out for them against Rangers

Brian Munz

3/28/2012 1:22:39 PM

The (35-33-8) Winnipeg Jets play host to the (47-21-7) New York Rangers in a 6pm ct face off tonight at MTS Centre.

TSN 1290's coverage begins with Hustler & Lawless live in the Exchange Restaurant at 3pm ct. Rick Ralph hosts the official Jets pregame show at 5pm ct. Dennis Beyak and I will have the play-by-play along with Shane Hnidy who will be at ice level between the benches.

Ondrej Pavelec will start his 13th consecutive game in goal for the Jets, who are eight points behind Buffalo for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Jets do have one game in hand on the Sabres.

The line of Tim Stapleton, Spencer Machacek and Ben Maxwell has led the Jets offence over the past four games. Stapleton has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last six games. Machacek has six points (one goal, five assists) in five games since joining the Jets from the AHL's St. John's IceCaps. Maxwell has four points (one goal, three assists) in four games upon his arrival from St. John's.

Grant Clitsome returns to action after being a healthy scratch for the last three games, which means Randy Jones sits tonight.

Dustin Byfuglien celebrated his 27th birthday yesterday.

Jets Projected Lines:

Ladd-Little-Wheeler
Kane-Burmistrov-Wellwood
Glass-Slater-Miettinen
Stapleton-Maxwell-Machacek

Enstrom-Byfuglien
Bogosian-Hainsey
Stuart-Clitsome

New York won their second straight road game last night, 3-2 in Minnesota. That extended their lead to 10 points over Boston for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Their record on the second night of back-to-back games is 9-2-2.

The Rangers have the third-best road record in the NHL at 22-11-5, and have given up only 89 goals in 38 games outside Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers and St. Louis share the NHL lead for wins with 48.

When leading after two periods this season, the Rangers are 28-0-3.

Marian Gaborik (three goals), Brad Richards (three assists) and Brandon Dubinsky (one goal, one assist) are on two-game point streaks.

Rangers Projected Lines:

Anisimov-Richards-Gaborik
Hagelin-Stepan-Callahan
Dubinsky-Boyle-Fedotenko
Rupp-Mitchell-Prust

McDonagh-Girardi
Del Zotto-Stralman
Staal-Bickel

The Rangers are 3-0 against Winnipeg this season, outscoring the Jets 8-1. Gaborik and Ryan Callahan lead New York with two goals and an assist in those games. Nik Antropov has the lone Jets goal.