Blue Jackets-Rangers Preview
The New York Rangers have had enough trouble generating offense
this season. Now they’ll have to try to do so without their
The Rangers look to snap a four-game home skid when they begin
an extended stretch without Ryan Callahan against the Columbus Blue
Jackets on Thursday night.
This game will also be New York forward Rick Nash’s first
against Columbus, the team that drafted him first overall in
New York hasn’t been able to break through in its last two
games, losing 4-1 at home to both Washington and Nashville.
The Rangers (15-16-1), near the bottom of the league with 70
goals, were 0 for 2 on the power play in each defeat, leaving them
at 2 for 12 in their last five games.
Making matters worse, Callahan will be sidelined four to six
weeks because of a sprained left knee he sustained in Tuesday’s
loss to the Predators.
Callahan is second on the team with seven goals and has six
assists. He sat out the season opener following shoulder surgery
and missed seven games between Oct. 19 and Nov. 2 with a broken
thumb. New York lost three of those contests – two via shutout.
“Everyone has to step up a little more,” defenseman Dan Girardi
said. “He brings a lot to the team, a lot of different
The Rangers, 0-2-1 on a team-record nine-game homestand, are
also without top defenseman Marc Staal after he suffered a
concussion in a 4-3 overtime loss to New Jersey on Saturday. The
Rangers have recalled bruising defenseman Dylan McIlrath from
Hartford of the AHL, and he could make his NHL debut in this
“What I need are some of the other guys, who for quite some time
probably have been hoping for a bigger role and a bigger
opportunity – well, here it is, grab it,” coach Alain Vigneault
told the team’s official website.
Nash was brought to New York to be the centerpiece of the team’s
offense, as the Rangers acquired him from the Blue Jackets in a
five-player deal in July 2012. The results have been mixed so far,
as the big forward hasn’t delivered the consistent production he
did for nine seasons in Columbus, where he recorded 30 or more
goals seven times.
Nash, who scored his sixth goal of the season Tuesday, was out
with a head injury in the teams’ first meeting since the trade, a
4-2 Rangers road win Nov. 7.
Columbus (13-15-3) has continued its surge following a rough
start, winning for the third time in four games with a 5-4 home
victory over the Devils on Tuesday.
The Blue Jackets, who lost 10 of their first 15, caught a break
as Nick Foligno got the winning goal with 91 seconds left when Ryan
Johansen’s shot went in off his skate.
New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur said the puck might have
“We’ve been on the other side of some of these,” Columbus coach
Todd Richards said. “Sometimes these games even themselves out and
tonight we won a game when the hockey gods helped us out a little
Cam Atkinson had two goals and two assists, Brandon Dubinsky had
a goal and three assists and Matt Calvert also scored for
Curtis McElhinney, filling in with Sergei Bobrovsky sidelined at
least four weeks with a strained groin, allowed a season high in
goals but won for the second time in three starts since Bobrovsky
The Blue Jackets have dropped four of their last five against
Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, career Rangers until they were make
key pieces of the Nash trade, will be making their returns to
Madison Square Garden. Dubinsky is coming off a career-high
four-point outing Tuesday.
Despite allowing 11 goals in his last three starts, Henrik
Lundqvist will start Thursday for New York.