After defeating the Minnesota Wild 7-3, the Rangers will conclude their first back-to-back of the season when they travel to Canada for a matchup with the Winnipeg Jets (8:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsJets
3rdNHL Standing RankN/A

Previous Game

               The Blueshirts are coming off a 7-3 win against the Minnesota Wild. New York had a strong first period and found themselves up 3-0. After getting into penalty trouble in the second period, the Wild scored and shortly later found themselves on a 5-3 power play that lasted over minute. Against the Lightning on opening night, the Rangers were punished by Steven Stamkos but on Thursday night the Rangers wouldn’t budge and they were able to kill it off and regain momentum. Filip Chytil would restore the Blueshirts lead shortly later and the Rangers went into the second intermission up three. Early in the third period, defense went out the window for a few brief minutes and each team exchanged a pair of goals. Chris Kreider would tally his second of the game with under six minutes to go. Ultimately, the Rangers had six different goal scorers.

               Kaapo Kakko had a wonderful solo effort goal after perfectly protecting the puck and using a power move to get to the front of the net.

               Alexis Lafreniere recorded two assists which was the first time he recorded a multi-assist game.

               “I still got to work hard and there’s nothing confirmed,” Lafreniere said. “Obviously, I want to play with them (Panarin and Trocheck). I think they’re real good players. I got to keep working on my game on the right side and try to get better.”


               The Blueshirts will now travel to Canada to take on the Winnipeg Jets. Expect the Rangers to roll out mostly the exact same lineup as they did in Minnesota except with Jaroslav Halak making his Blueshirts debut. Halak has played in 556 career games and he has a career save percentage of .916. In his past four seasons, Halak’s save percentage as gone south. Halak had a .922 save percentage during his first season in Boston (2018-2019) but had just a .903 save percentage with the Canucks last season. Halak has been a reliable goaltender for much of his career and the Blueshirts will be hoping to get reliable numbers out of their backup. Last year, Alex Georgiev was good when he had to make a string of starts in Shesterkin’s absence. However, when Georgiev played with many games in between starts, he wasn’t at the top of his game. Georgiev was ultimately traded to Colorado as they simply couldn’t afford his cap hit. The Rangers are hoping that having a true backup will give them the reliable numbers in spot starts.

               Sammy Blais has a chance of making his season debut after suffering a minor injury in preseason. If Blais is held out of the game, then the Rangers will roll out the same lineup. But if Blais is available, then expect him to slot into the bottom-six and one of Jimmy Vesey, Dryden Hunt, or Ryan Reaves to come out of the lineup.

               K’Andre Miller suffered a big hit against the Wild which made a wound on the side of his head. It was a little deeper than you would have hoped but he returned to the game. If he was unavailable for any reason, Libor Hajek would make his season debut.


               The Winnipeg Jets are one of three teams left in the league who have yet to start the season. Including Friday night’s game, all three of the Rangers games will be against a team making their season debut. Winnipeg will be the second team hosting the Blueshirts for their home opener. Like the Wild, this will be a tricky game for the Rangers. Not only is it another home opener where the Jets will want to give their fans something to cheer for, the Blueshirts also enter the game more fatigued than Winnipeg having played Thursday night.

               In the offseason, the Jets hired Rick Bowness as their head coach. Bowness, 67, became the interim head coach of the Dallas Stars in 2019. Bowness led the Stars to the Stanley Cup Finals where they lost to Tampa Bay in six games. Bowness stepped away from his position following Dallas’s elimination in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.

               The Jets had a quiet offseason and made no major splash. The biggest surprise was Pierre-Luc Dubois returning to the Jets. Dubois was often linked out of Winnipeg, but he ultimately signed his qualifying offer.

               The Jets lost Paul Stastny, Zach Sanford, and Eric Comrie in free agency. They traded the Rangers Andrew Copp at the 2022 trade deadline and he didn’t return to the Jets in the offseason. They replaced Stastny with Sam Gagner and Comrie with David Rittich.

               Perhaps the most interesting move was Winnipeg stripping Blake Wheeler of their captaincy and going with a few alternate captains for the season.

               Despite the Jets having a quiet offseason and losing some depth, they still got a dangerous offense that is capable of scoring in bunches. This includes a top line of Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, and Nikolaj Ehlers. This is a trio who is very dangerous and capable of scoring at a moment’s notice. Connor recorded 93 points and was just three goals shy of hitting 50.

               Connor Hellebuyck is expected to tend the goal on opening night. Hellebuyck was far from his best last season as he recorded just a .910 save percentage and a 2.97 goals-against average.

Key to the Game

               The key for the Rangers success in Friday’s game is repeating the success they had Thursday in Minnesota. Not allowing the Jets to get early momentum will be key as emotions will be high for Winnipeg players and their fans. If the Rangers can play a tight game and limit scoring opportunities, they will give themselves a good chance of leaving Winnipeg with two points.

Projected Starting Lineup










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