Jets look to make it two in a row
|Jets goalie Chris Mason will play in his second straight game tonight against the road-weary Rangers. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG -- Can the Winnipeg Jets follow up their strong finish with a second consecutive victory?
That's the million-dollar question on Monday as the Jets host the New York Rangers at 7:35 p.m. (TSN 1290, TSN Jets).
The Jets are coming off a 5-3 come-from-behind win over the Carolina Hurricanes and hoping to build on a 2-4-1 record.
“We really want to make this a hard place to play for other teams,” said Jets goalie Chris Mason, who will make his second start of the season after earning the win in relief on Saturday. “Getting down early and having us come back showed the guys in here that we’re capable of doing it if we respond the right way.
“But the thing is, you have to keep doing it and we have to back up that effort with another one tonight.”
Speaking of responses, the 2-2-2 Rangers are coming off a 2-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers and looking for one of their own.
“I would think New York is probably not real happy with the results (so far),” added Jets head coach Claude Noel. “They’ve been on the road for a while and they’re coming in here trying to get the win, as you would excpect from any opponent. We’re going to have to play well. For us, we have enough of our own issues, that we’re going to have to play well.
“We played well for the last 40 minutes of the game, we played with some urgency and we’re going to have to keep plowing ahead because we’re walking into seven straight road games (after Monday).”
“They have a lot of dynamic guys up front, so we have to be careful with the puck and put it in the right areas or they’re going to make us pay,” added Jets captain Andrew Ladd.
The Jets are making two lineup changes, inserting forwards Tim Stapleton and Kenndal McArdle for Mark Scheifele, who was sent back to the Barrie Colts on Sunday and Jim Slater, who didn’t skate on Monday and remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Backup Martin Biron will start for the Rangers and isn’t overly concerned about the BEE-RON or MAR-TY chants that would be coming his way this evening.
“I’ve heard many chants in my career, some nice one’s and some not so nice one’s. It’s just another notch on the belt I guess,” said Biron, who has heard great things about the atmosphere inside the MTS Centre. “I hear it’s pretty loud, it’s fun and there’s a lot of excitement. It’s fun to be playing in those games. It gets everybody pumped up and everybody ready for it.”
Rangers head coach John Tortorella wasn’t in an overly talkative mood, but the 2:40 he spent with reporters on Monday with longer than the 16 second rant he had after the Rangers lost to the Oilers on Saturday.
“We’re trying to find our way,” Tortorella said when asked about the Rangers’ start. “Again I’m not going to get into a lot of and I hate to keep using that word with you guys, but I’m not going to dissect it with you. I’m not.
“I want us to just work it out within the room here, within our team and try to get better.”
When asked about the challenges to starting the season with seven road games due to renovations at Madison Square Garden, Tortorella wasn’t about to let his players lean on that as an excuse.
“There’s no challenges. Home or away or neutral site, it’s about being ready to play. Everybody has schedules and it is what it is. We just have to find a way to be consistent within the hockey game.”