The New York Rangers posted a dramatic victory over their Star break on a positive note when they host the Winnipeg Jets tonight at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers are 13-4 over their last 17 games, but three of those losses have come in their last six trips to the ice. However, New York posted a thrilling victory in its last outing on Saturday as Marian Gaborik scored his second goal of the game on a power play with 3.6 seconds left in overtime, lifting the Rangers to a 3-2 decision over the visiting Boston Bruins.
Gaborik's winner pushed the Rangers two points ahead of Boston for the top seed in the East, but the Bruins have since moved back into a tie with New York after beating Philadelphia on Sunday.
New York played the last three-plus minutes of overtime on Saturday with a man advantage after Andrew Ference's major penalty and game misconduct for charging on Ryan McDonagh. The Bruins were able to keep the Rangers out of the net until a mad scramble in the final seconds, when Tuukka Rask made two quick glove saves but couldn't stop Gaborik's backhand flip from going in.
"We played hard," said Rangers coach John Tortorella. "It was a game of momentum and it shifted back and forth. I thought both teams probably gave up more chances than they wanted to and we found a way to win."
McDonagh suffered an upper-body injury after getting slammed hard into the boards by Ference, who received a three-game suspension for the hit. McDonagh is questionable for tonight's game.
The Rangers, who also lead the Flyers by three points for the Atlantic lead, are 14-5-2 as the host this season, but have lost two of their last three on home ice.
The Jets, meanwhile, have lost two straight, three of four and six of their last eight games. The rough patch has dropped Winnipeg three points behind Washington and Toronto for the last playoff spot in the East.
Winnipeg began a six-game road trip Monday in Carolina and dropped a 2-1 decision to the Hurricanes. Cam Ward made 14 of his 29 saves in the third period to help the 'Canes hold off the Jets at RBC Center.
"The ice wasn't great. It looked like we were playing basketball for a while out there," Jets head coach Claude Noel said.
Winnipeg is 7-13-4 as the guest this year compared to a 15-8-2 mark at home. This is the Jets' final test before the All-Star break and they'll resume the swing next Tuesday in Philadelphia.
New York is 2-0 against the Jets this season and the Blueshirts posted a 3-0 home win when the clubs met last on Nov. 6. Rangers backup goaltender Martin Biron stopped 23 shots in that encounter and has four shutouts in 20 career games against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise.