On Friday night, the NHL’s highest goals per game teams came to head-to-head. The Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers were both looking to continue their winning ways in an attempt to move up the standings.
Friday night featured two juggernaut offenses early in 2016-17; the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers. The Rangers have scored more goals and also have the best goal differential in the NHL. The Blue Jackets have scored the most goals in a single game, a 10-0 shelling of the Montreal Canadiens. Heading into this tilt, the Rangers had a record of (13-4-0), and the Blue Jackets (8-4-2).
With the best goals per game at home and a league-leading power play percentage of 30.8%, the Jackets have shown fire and passion under Tortorella. The Rangers are getting scoring from every line and have been the most consistently scoring team from the beginning of the season.
The first period was not exactly what fans were expecting. Instead of a high-octane offensive game, the Rangers and Jackets seemed to sit back trying to figure each other out. Both teams put three shots on net and each had a power play.
On a turnover in the Rangers defensive end, William Karlsson was able to slap a shot past Henrik Lundqvist. Besides the goal, which was uncharacteristic for Lundqvist to let in, the period seemed to go by without any fuss. Even analysts were confounded that there had only been a total of six shots on goal combined.
The first five minutes of the second period had a lot of back and forth action. It seemed as if the coaches had told their players shots needed to get put on net. Sam Gagner threw the puck on goal and Lundqvist got a piece of it. Sadly, for Lundqvist, he didn’t get enough of the puck as it rolled in and the Jackets had the second goal of the game.
The Rangers most sustained pressure was interrupted when Matt Calvert took a puck up high and left the ice. With the interruption over, the Rangers continued their barrage, and Michael Grabner scored on Sergei Bobrovsky. For Grabner, it was his 11th goal of the season. All three goals to this point had been unassisted. The Rangers added 13 shots on goals and the Jackets 14 shots.
Columbus came out with an edge to their game and also ready to take it in the third period. Close to nine minutes went by when New York’s Mika Zibanejad was able to tuck in a goal. The pass came via Brady Skjei (while he’d been having a great night defensively).
Shortly after, Calvert took off on a two-on-one shorthanded and was able to convert the penalty kill. This helped them gain a lead of 3-2. With the game winding to a close, Bobrovsky was playing great to keep his team in the lead. With 1:05 left in the final frame, Lundqvist headed to the bench and the extra skater came on for the Rangers. The Jackets scored on the empty net.
The win helped the Columbus Blue Jackets extend their home win streak to seven games, and they are now riding a three-game win streak.