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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 2nd (All times Eastern)
Winnipeg Jets (12-12-4) at New York Rangers (14-13-0), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Kreider showed his former coach a few things last time out.
The New York forward will look to build off his first career hat trick on Monday night as the Rangers welcome the Winnipeg Jets to Madison Square Garden.
Coming off a 3-2 loss to Boston the previous day, the Rangers prepared for a big showdown with the John Tortorella-led Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. It marked Tortorella's first trip back to New York after being fired by the Rangers during the offseason.
Tortorella was replaced as coach by Alain Vigneault, who was let go by the Canucks over the summer to create the position filled by Tortorella.
Vigneault opted to shake up his lines ahead of Saturday's game and one move was putting Kreider on the top line with Rick Nash and Derek Stephan. It paid off as Kreider scored three times in the 5-2 win.
The 22-year-old now has six goals and 16 points in 20 games this season after logging just two goals and one assist in three games last season under Tortorella. He credited his linemates with Saturday's success.
"Those are just the kind of players they are. It doesn't matter really who you put with them, they're so good. I've been really lucky to have some good linemates this year," Kreider said.
Nash scored and had two assists, while Stepan finished with a pair of helpers. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto -- a healthy scratch in the previous two games and five of the last eight -- also scored in New York's fourth victory in six games.
Backup goaltender Cam Talbot made a career-high 35 saves, moving to 6-1-0 on the season. He has not allowed more than two goals in any of his seven starts, the first of his NHL career, while giving some rest to No. 1 Henrik Lundqvist.
The Jets visit New York looking to get their struggling power play on track. They went 0-for-6 in Friday's 2-1 setback to the Philadelphia Flyers and rank 28th in the league on the man advantage at 11.5 percent.
Winnipeg also allowed its NHL high-tying fifth short-handed goal in Friday's defeat.
"Our power play was disappointing. We can't get anything out of it and haven't been able to through the years. It's not like it's anything new for us. Finding solutions to that issue and problem is certainly a challenge for us," said Winnipeg coach Claude Noel.
Michael Frolik had a third-period goal and Ondrej Pavelec made 32 saves for the Jets, who had won the first two of a six-game road trip and fell to 2-3-2 in their past seven games overall.
Winnipeg lost forward Evander Kane to a lower-body injury in the first period and he did not skate in Saturday's outdoor practice in Central Park. He is tied for second on the club with seven goals, but has not been ruled out for this game.
The Jets have lost five of their last seven meetings with the Rangers, including three of the four games played in New York since the Winnipeg franchise relocated from Atlanta.
Lundqvist is 10-7-6 with a 2.19 goals against average in his career versus the franchise, while Pavelec has gone 4-4-1 with a 2.34 GAA lifetime against the Rangers.
12/02 10:30:20 ET
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