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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 1st (All times Eastern)

Winnipeg Jets (18-16-2) at New York Rangers (16-15-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The struggling New York Rangers and their anemic offense will try to start moving in the right direction on Monday, when they host the Winnipeg Jets in a key Eastern Conference battle.

The Rangers entered this season as a Stanley Cup favorite, but with a 16-15-3 record and 35 points, New York is just trying to stay afloat in the playoff race. The Blueshirts enter Monday tied with the New York Islanders for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

The Islanders also are in action on Monday, as they visit the New Jersey Devils, who are four points ahead in the East's seventh seed.

Winnipeg, meanwhile, is currently third in the East standings, as it leads the Southeast Division with 38 points, four more than both Carolina and Washington.

Neither the Rangers nor the Jets enter Monday's battle on a hot streak. New York has lost two straight and four of its last five games, while Winnipeg has dropped two in a row and four of six.

In addition to taking a two-game skid into tonight, the Rangers also have failed to score since beginning a three-game road trip with Tuesday's 5-2 win at Philadelphia. New York, which is dead last in the NHL with an average of 2.21 goals per game, has since suffered consecutive 3-0 losses in Ottawa and Montreal and enters Monday with a scoreless streak of 127 minutes, 47 seconds.

The Rangers fired 34 shots at Montreal's Carey Price on Saturday, but he stopped every one to help the Canadiens post a 3-0 win at Bell Centre.

Martin Biron gave Henrik Lundqvist a rare night off and made 23 saves as New York lost for the seventh time in 10 games.

"We had some scoring chances but we just couldn't cash in. Nobody's happy about this one," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. "We're still in the thick of it but things have to change quickly."

The Rangers will play consecutive games on home ice, as they're set to host Pittsburgh on Wednesday. New York has lost its last two games at Madison Square Garden and is 10-6-2 as the host this season.

The Jets have managed only one goal over their two-game slide, but they hope to get back on track by completing a season-series sweep of the Rangers. Winnipeg is 2-0 against the Blueshirts this season after New York won all four encounters in 2011-12.

Winnipeg dropped a 3-1 decision Saturday against visiting Carolina, which took a 1-0 lead just 66 seconds into the game and led 2-0 at the end of the first.

Olli Jokinen had the lone goal for Winnipeg, which had handed the Hurricanes a 4-1 defeat in Raleigh on Tuesday. Ondrej Pavelec finished with 25 saves to take the loss in Saturday's rematch.

"We're still in the lead, so the division race will play itself out," Jets head coach Claude Noel said afterward. "We had an opportunity to extend the gap. No one's more disappointed than us. I'm sure everyone's disappointed. They didn't come here anticipating this (result) today."

The Jets are opening a three-game road trip tonight and have a solid 10-7-2 record as the guest this season.

04/01 10:50:49 ET