Rangers blank Jets

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist takes one right off the chin during a game against the Jets at...

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist takes one right off the chin during a game against the Jets at Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., Jan. 24, 2012. (RAY STUBBLEBINE/Reuters)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:48 AM ET

NEW YORK - Tanner Glass was about to get the Jets to within one goal.

He was about to get Winnipeg back in the game.

Then, as is often the case with the Jets these days, the puck didn’t go in the net. Henrik Lundqvist stuck out his left pad and robbed Glass of what would’ve been his fifth goal of the season early in the third period on Tuesday night at the most famous arena in the world, Madison Square Garden.

The lively crowd roared. Glass looked towards the ceiling. It was another one of those nights for the offensively deceased Winnipeg Jets.

For the 27th time this season they failed to score more than two goals. For the sixth time this season they failed to score a goal.

As a result, the New York Rangers skated to a 3-0 victory and entered the all-star break on top of the Eastern Conference.

The Jets? Well, they fell five points out of a playoff position after Toronto, Washington and New Jersey all got at least a point on Tuesday night. The Jets are winless in three, but they get to try to not think about it during their five-day all-star break that began with Tuesday night’s final buzzer.

“You need not look any further than the standings,” Glass said of his team’s status entering the break. “We’re out of the playoff picture, and we’re not scoring enough goals to win. Until we fix those two things … those are two things we need to do to win. We need to compete harder in the first periods on the road and then score more goals.”

The Jets are missing scoring leader Evander Kane and top offensive defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, which is definitely figuring into their offensive woes. The troubling part for Jets fans is head coach Claude Noel doesn’t know when they’re going to be back.

“Don’t lose hope. We will have hope. There’s no doubt about that,” Noel said. “We’ll get back on track here with our injuries, and we’ll get things going. For us right now, we’re going to go in and try to mend ourselves and then go from there.”

The Jets fell to 0-8 this season in the second half of back-to-backs, but that wasn’t the story on this night. They put forth a solid effort in what should have been their toughest back-to-back finale so far this season. The Rangers scored a goal in each period, and Lundqvist earned his fifth shutout of the season.

The Jets had their chances. Glass had his glorious opportunity, and Blake Wheeler tipped an Andrew Ladd pass that went right across the goal-line. It marked the second time this season they failed to score at the Garden, as they also lost 3-0 in early November.

A few Jets were flying high, but not enough of them.

“We need all four lines doing that, myself included,” said Chris Thorburn, who fought Mike Rupp twice but failed to score a goal for the 49th time in 49 games. “I gotta chip in offensively. We can’t put the pressure on our top guys to score every night.”

It could be argued the Jets simply faced three red-hot netminders over the last three games. Florida’s Scott Clemmensen was outstanding in a shootout win on Saturday in Winnipeg, and Carolina’s Cam Ward was stellar on Monday night in the Hurricanes’ 2-1 triumph at RBC Center.

“I don’t know about luck,” Noel said.

“We’re not a team that finishes. It doesn’t come naturally for us, so I don’t know if it’s luck so much. I would like to see us get more point shots through on the back end from the blue-line.”

That would be good, but what this team needs is Kane, Byfuglien, Alex Burmistrov and Tim Stapleton back in the lineup. Those are four contributing members of a team that needs to be healthy if it’s going to participate in the post-season dance.

So like Noel said, don’t lose that hope, Jets fans. In fact, it’s time to hope even more than you usually do that Kane and Byfuglien find cures for whatever ails them as soon as possible.


Videos

Photos