- Katie Strang, ESPN.com
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What it means: Shut out in two straight, the Rangers responded Monday with a decisive 4-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets to retain their hold on the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings. First-line center Derek Stepan led the way with two goals, staving off a series sweep by the Jets. Stepan, who also made a terrific save in the first period in place of a sprawling Henrik Lundqvist, now has seven points in the past five games.
Scoring leader: Despite a pair of goals from Stepan, Rick Nash remains on top for the Rangers with 13 goals after his third-period marker that provided the Blueshirts with an insurance goal. Nash ripped a shot from the right circle for a 4-2 Rangers lead at 13:07 of the third period.
Not so fast: After being shut out in their previous two games, the Rangers snapped a scoreless streak 19 seconds into play with Derek Stepan’s 11th goal of the season, but their lead didn’t last for long. The Jets answered with an early goal of their own less than a minute later as ex-Ranger Nik Antropov was left all alone in front of the net. Zach Bogosian’s blue-line blast at 12:54 gave the Jets a 2-1 lead heading into the intermission.
Captain Cally: With his team trailing 2-1 in the second period, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan scored a short-handed goal to pull even with the Jets. On a 2-on-1 rush, Callahan waited out Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec and went backhand to knot the game at 2 at 3:11.
Feeling shame: Mats Zuccarello spent more time in the penalty box than on the ice in the second period. The diminutive Norwegian winger was whistled for three penalties in the middle frame, but the Rangers killed off all three and scored a short-handed goal in the process.
Asham scratched: Fourth-liner Darroll Powe returned to the lineup Monday night, leaving tough guy Arron Asham the odd man out. Asham, who missed significant time earlier this season with a back injury, was a healthy scratch along with defenseman Matt Gilroy.
Trade tracker: Coveted forward rental Ryane Clowe was scratched by San Jose Monday for the Sharks’ match against the Vancouver Canucks, presumably to protect their asset in advance of Wednesday’s trade deadline. The Rangers are among the number of teams interested in Clowe, though the asking price is believed to be steep.
Up Next: Rangers vs. Penguins, Wednesday at 7 p.m.
90dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald