Jets dump Rangers, continue strong trip

NEW YORK -- The Winnipeg Jets are turning their longest road trip of the season into their most successful trek.

The Jets claimed their third win through four games on the trip, knocking off the New York Rangers 5-2 Monday at Madison Square Garden.

Winnipeg (13-12-4) knocked off the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders before losing 2-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.

Coach Claude Noel's team travels to Florida to round out the six-game trip against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 5 and 7, respectively.

The Jets broke a 2-2 tie in the third period Monday on two goals from 34-year-old center Olli Jokinen and an empty-net goal from right wing Blake Wheeler. Jokinen's fifth of the season at 12:42 proved to be the difference.

Jokinen, a former Ranger who also assisted on right winger Devin Setoguchi's tying goal in the second period, controlled the puck after a carom off the end boards. Jokinen lifted a shot past Rangers goalie Cam Talbot to make it 3-2.

Jokinen then poked his sixth goal of the season between Talbot's pads with 1:54 to play. Wheeler capped the scoring with 51 seconds to go.

"It was a good effort from all four lines, and our goalie was fantastic," Jokinen said. "If you want to be a playoff team, you can't lose two games on the road."

Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec made 35 saves in the win. Talbot, who got a rare second straight start over No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist, stopped 25 shots for his second loss of the season.

The Rangers (14-14-0) won four of their previous six games.

"We're definitely not getting the traction that I think we want, that I know we want," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "The only way we are going to get traction and get better is by playing more consistent hockey."

Ryan Callahan's hustle allowed the Rangers to knot the game at 2-2 at 15:50 of the second period. The right winger pounced on a loose puck in a scrum in front of the Winnipeg net, backhanding it into the net as he lay on the ice. The goal was his seventh of the season.

The Jets grabbed a 2-1 edge midway through the second period. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien intercepted a Rangers pass in his own zone and fired a pass to fourth-line center John Albert, who skated in alone on Talbot and fired a wrist shot for the first NHL goal of his career at 10:00.

Albert, 24, was making his NHL debut. He was called up from AHL St. John's on Sunday. His first shift was a shaky one, getting caught on the ice for the Rangers' first goal of the night.

Winnipeg tied it up at 1-1 in the second period. Setoguchi used Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto as a screen, sending the puck between his legs and past Talbot on the short side at 8:16 for his seventh goal of the season.

Some superb forechecking gave the Rangers a 1-0 advantage just 2:49 into the game.

Right winger Mats Zucccarello tipped in defenseman Ryan McDonagh's blast from the right point for his fourth goal of the season. Jets defenseman Keaton Ellerby tried to clear the puck from his own zone, but instead it was intercepted by McDonagh.

The Jets' strong performance came two days after a rare outdoor practice.

Noel decided to break up the monotony of the road trip by having the team work out at New York's Central Park on Saturday. The move was meant for team-building, but it clearly paid dividends in the win against the Rangers.

"We had an opportunity to spend three days in New York, coming off the game in Philadelphia, and we wanted to do something different," Noel said about the rare outdoor practice. "It just brings back some good memories for the players and you hope it helps them on a long trip.

"But it only helps your group if you win."

NOTES: Winnipeg LW Evander Kane missed a game for the first time this season. He sat out due to a lower-body injury he sustained Friday in a road loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. ... Winnipeg C Bryan Little had one assists, giving him eight points (one goal, seven assists) in his past eight games. ... The Rangers play 10 of their last 11 games before Christmas at Madison Square Garden. ... Cam Talbot is the first Rangers goalie to win six consecutive decisions in his first year since Jim Henry in 1941-42. ... Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien began the night tied for fourth among NHL defensemen with 21 points, and he added an assist against the Rangers.