Jets vs. Rangers: Stopping Andrew Ladd Is Key to Blueshirt Victory

Mathias AskCorrespondent IIFebruary 26, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers makes a save during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets on January 24, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

The New York Rangers are in desperate need of a win tonight against the Winnipeg Jets and the only way to do so is to throw everything they have at Jets left winger Andrew Ladd.

Ladd is leading the Jets in points with 17 and scoring with 10 goals. He has been on a tear during the Jets’ road trip. In their past four games, he’s got three goals and two assists. He will be looking to continue his great run during the last game of their road trip at Madison Square Garden.

Winnipeg is now right behind the Rangers in the Eastern Conference.

New York is on a three-game losing streak in which it has conceded three goals in every contest. Luckily for the Rangers, defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Dan Girardi may return (per to the ice tonight after recovering from injuries.

Del Zotto missed the entire game when the Rangers lost 3-0 to the Canadiens, while Girardi had to leave the ice during the third period. The duo will be essential when it comes to wearing down Ladd and the Jets offense.   

When you look at the Rangers roster, it’s depressing to think about how badly they’ve been playing. The Blueshirts are stacked and should not be outside the playoff picture.

Even though Ryan McDonagh is not playing tonight, Del Zotto, Staal and Girardi should have no excuse for letting the Jets beat them.

The aggressive forecheck has been virtually absent during the last few games, excluding the first period of the Montreal game, and tonight the Rangers defense has to be on Ladd constantly.

Considering that Rick Nash is still out with an injury, the Rangers offense will likely struggle in this game. The Blueshirts have only scored four goals in the last four games, which is the primary reason why they aren’t winning.

That’s why they’re lucky to have Henrik Lundqvist. The Swedish goaltender is still the Rangers’ saving grace and the only reason the Blueshirts aren’t hovering down at the bottom of the standings with the Washington Capitals and the Buffalo Sabres.

His goals-against average is a respectable 2.28 and his save percentage is .918.

If Ladd is let loose at the Garden, the Rangers are going to lose and that will mark their longest losing streak in two years.

But if the Blueshirts play Rangers hockey tonight, things will go their way.