With the way both offenses have been struggling, one goal could be the difference Monday night when the Winnipeg Jets try to build their lead atop the Southeast Division and sweep the season series from the New York Rangers.
Despite their recent offensive woes, the Jets still hold a slight edge over Carolina and Washington atop in the Southeast as they play the Rangers for the third time.
Winnipeg, though, hopes to get back on track after dropping its second straight in a 3-1 home loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday. The Jets have lost four of six, totaling only two goals in those losses.
"No one's more disappointed than us,' coach Claude Noel said. "The division race is going to get played out (but) it's not what we had in mind.'
Noel's club ranked near the bottom of the league at 2.06 goals per game in March despite taking 30 or more shots in eight of its 16 games. Winnipeg has also received little from its power play, converting just 6 of 69 chances (8.7 percent) over its last 27 games.
The Jets may be able to break through in that category since the Rangers have allowed a power-play goal in six straight contests and ranked near the bottom of the league in penalty-kill percentage at 73.2 for March.
Winnipeg (18-16-2) has a chance to sweep New York for the first time since winning all four games in 2002-03, when the franchise was still in Atlanta.
The Rangers, the NHL's lowest scoring team at 2.21 goals per game, have 14 over their last 10 games and were shut out for the second straight contest in a 3-0 loss at Montreal on Saturday.
"We have to stay positive,' New York coach John Tortorella said. "We'll try to correct some things that are going wrong, but we'll work on the positives."
While Tortorella's club entered the season with high expectations, the Rangers (16-15-3) remain on the edge of the Eastern Conference playoff race - tied for eighth place with 14 games left.
Goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has a 3-2-1 record and a 1.79 goals-against average over his last six starts, has done his best to keep New York in the hunt.
Lundqvist has taken the loss in both starts against the Jets this season, but has a 7-4-4 record with a 1.96 GAA in 15 lifetime starts at home - including the 2007 playoffs - in this series.
Although Ryan Callahan has been mired in an eight-game scoreless drought, he may be able to give the Rangers a spark in this contest. He has eight goals in his last 11 games against the Jets.
Derek Stepan, second on the team with 10 goals, has produced a point in four of the last five meetings.
Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec will try to keep the Rangers' offense struggling. He's won both starts with a 2.00 GAA and a .935 save percentage in the season series.
Evander Kane could be a factor after scoring twice in a 4-3 win at New York on Feb. 26. He also has six goals and 10 points in 11 career games against the Rangers.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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