The New York Rangers know they're headed for the playoffs, but the Winnipeg Jets' bid to return to the postseason will likely go down to the wire.
The Jets look to bounce back from their first home loss in five games Tuesday night when the Rangers try to win for the first time since clinching a playoff spot.
New York (47-21-7) leads the Metropolitan Division by six points and is in the crowded race for the Presidents' Trophy with Anaheim, Montreal, Nashville, St. Louis and Tampa Bay.
The Rangers became the first team to secure a playoff berth after winning 5-1 at Ottawa on Thursday. However, they've lost twice since, falling 5-2 to Washington on Sunday after giving up three goals in the third period.
"There is still a lot to play for," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We are playing for home-ice advantage. We haven't secured that. You also want to go into the playoffs playing the right way."
The Jets (39-25-12) just want to get there for the second time in franchise history and first since 2006-07 when they were the Atlanta Thrashers. They hold the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, trying to fend off Calgary and Los Angeles - which are also competing for third in the Pacific Division.
All three teams have six games left but Winnipeg's remaining schedule includes five against teams in the postseason chase, with the finale versus the Flames on April 11.
For now, the Jets are looking to rebound from Sunday's 4-3 loss to Chicago. They gave up the decisive goal with 31 seconds left in regulation after a collision between defenseman Toby Enstrom and the linesman led to the tying score earlier in the third.
"The biggest thing is picking yourself off the floor and getting excited again," captain Andrew Ladd told the team's official website. "Everybody was (ticked) off and (ticked) off, probably, when they woke up (Monday). ... You try and shut it off at some point, but it took me a long time to get to sleep. It's part of the gig.
"We talked about it and that's it. It's over with. We're getting excited to play the Rangers."
Winnipeg has won four of the past six meetings, including 1-0 in a shootout Nov. 1. The Jets haven't swept the season series since taking all four matchups in 2002-03.
Ondrej Pavelec made 38 saves and turned aside three of four shootout attempts against New York in November. He should be back in net after making 20 saves Sunday, ending his six-game winning streak which included a 1.15 goals-against average.
Blake Wheeler has scored in each of the last three games to give him nine goals and six assists in the past 13. The right wing had a career-high four-game scoring streak March 1-9, 2012.
His team-leading 25 goals are three shy of his career high set last season, but he's only scored three times in 21 meetings against New York.
Dustin Byfuglien has three points in the last two home games against the Rangers. He enters this one with three goals in the first two of this four-game homestand after scoring twice Sunday.
It's unclear if New York will have Henrik Lundqvist or Cam Talbot in net. Talbot made 26 saves Sunday, a day after Lundqvist had 26 in a 4-2 loss at Boston in his return from a neck injury.
Lundqvist owns a 1.30 GAA while winning two of his last three starts against Winnipeg, making 25 saves Nov. 1.