Rather than three spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future, the New York Rangers appeared to be visited by the injury bug this holiday season, as Rick Nash, Jimmy Vesey and Matt Peumpel were added to an ailment list that already contained Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad.
Youngsters like Marek Hrvik and Niklas Jensen will look to soften the blow tonight, as they’ll complete their season set against the Winnipeg Jets tonight at MTS Centre (8 PM, MSG).
Working in the Rangers‘ favor is their incredible record following a loss, as they are 7-0-1 following such disappointments. The latest came on Tuesday night, when the Rangers (17-9-1) fell 4-2 to the New York Islanders at Barclays Center. Though Vesey, who will miss tonight’s game with an upper body injury, and Marc Staal broke through, the Rangers were mostly stymied by Jaroslav Halak, who made 36 saves in victory. The Rangers and Islanders have split of the first two meeting of their yearly four game set.
Winnipeg (13-13-3) is likewise coming off a defeat on Tuesday night, though they mustered a point in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings. The Jets held a 3-1 lead after the first period, with rookie sensation Patrik Laine earning an assist and a goal, the latter of which tied him up with Sidney Crosby for the league lead at 17. However, Detroit fought back with two second period goals, and Henrik Zetterberg eventually put in the game winner in the shootout.
This will complete the season series between the Rangers and Jets, with the Rangers looking to complete the sweep following a 5-2 win on November 6 at Madison Square Garden. Goals by Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello were respectively answered by Laine and Mark Scheifele, but a trio of unanswered goals by JT Miller, Jesper Fast and Buchnevich helped put the game away, and the Rangers took the victory despite failing to register a shot in the third period.
Antti Raanta is expected to start for the Rangers in net, his first start since November 27.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490