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Rangers look to extend win streak against Columbus; Buchnevich back on the second line

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-blue-jackets-1-7

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

  • New York Rangers (36-18-1, 73 PTS) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (35-14-5, 75 PTS)
  • The Rangers scored three unanswered goals to erase a 2-1 deficit against the Colorado Avalanche, securing Henrik Lundqvist’s 400th career win in the process. He became the quickest goalie in NHL history to reach that mark and the first non-Canadian to record 400 wins. Kevin Klein scored twice, Rick Nash scored the game winner and Kevin Hayes scored into the empty net to seal the win. That marked the Rangers’ sixth consecutive win.
  • The Rangers won all four games of their homestand, a big accomplishment considering how lackluster they had been at MSG this season. They are now 18-11-1 at home and 18-7-0 on the road.
  • Columbus won their last game, a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Boone Jenner and Cam Atkinson both scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 35 of the 36 shots that he faced to secure the win. The Blue Jackets have been a .500 team since their franchise best 16 game win streak, not being able to string many wins together.

THE MATCHUP

  • This is the fourth of five meetings between the Rangers and Blue Jackets this season, and the third and final game in Columbus. The Blue Jackets won the last game, 6-4, on Jan. 31 at Madison Square Garden. The Blue Jackets jumped out to a 6-0 lead before the Rangers closed the gap with four goals in the third period.
  • The last time they played in Columbus, the Rangers won in dramatic fashion, getting a game winning goal from Michael Grabner with less than 20 seconds remaining.
  • The Rangers have won eight of their last 10 games against Columbus, dating back to Jan. 16, 2015 (8-2-0).
  • A win for the Rangers would propel them into second place in the division.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

  • Sergei Bobrovsky is the likely starter tonight for the Blue Jackets. The likely Vezina Trophy candidate is 30-11-3 with a 2.17 GAA and a .926 save percentage so far. He’s allowed six combined goals in his last three games.
  • Cam Atkinson has been a pretty consistent 20 goal scorer, hitting that mark in each of the last four seasons now, but he’s an offensive force to be reckoned with this season. His 27 goals this season tied his career high set last year and put him in fourth place in the league, ahead of Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Ovechkin. He’s on pace for 41 goals and 74 points.
  • Brandon Saad was a cap casualty for the Chicago Blackhawks but a huge pick up for the Blue Jackets. In his first season with Columbus last season, he scored 31 goals and 53 points. Through 54 games this season, he has 17 goals and 38 points, which puts him on pace for 26 goals but 58 points. He plays on the top line with Alexander Wennberg and Nick Foligno.

NEW YORK RANGERS

  • After 11 straight starts, Henrik Lundqvist gets the night off and Antti Raanta makes his first start since Jan. 14. Raanta is 15-10-0 with a 2.34 GAA and a .918 save percentage, providing an excellent option for Vigneault to turn to when needed.
  • Pavel Buchnevich has been stuck on the fourth line for a while now, but he’ll finally get his chance back on the second line tonight. Jimmy Vesey simply hasn’t been effective enough and Buchnevich has shown incredible flashes of offensive brilliance in his brief rookie season. He has 15 points in 23 games so far.
  • Michael Grabner has torched the Blue Jackets this season, scoring at least one goal in each of the three games so far, including a hat trick on Jan. 7 in Columbus. He’s also been playing extremely well as of late, with four goals and two assists in the last four games. Grabner has recorded a point in five of six career games in Columbus, with nine points (5-4-9) in those games.

The Rangers and the Blue Jackets will faceoff at Nationwide Arena at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on NBCSN.

EXPECTED LINEUP

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello

Pavel Buchnevich-Mika Zibanejad-Rick Nash

JT Miller-Kevin Hayes-Michael Grabner

Jimmy Vesey-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Nick Holden

Brady Skjei-Kevin Klein

Antti Raanta

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Posted on February 13, 2017, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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