Saad scores in debut, Jackets fall to Rangers 4-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Mats Zuccarello had two goals and the New York Rangers scored three times in just over a minute in the third period to rally to a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
Brandon Saad, the Blue Jackets’ blockbuster acquisition in the offseason, scored on a power play at 16:10 of the third to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead in their season opener.
But after a Columbus turnover, Oscar Lindberg netted a low shot for his second goal in as many games to tie it at 2.
Just 17 seconds later, Kevin Hayes made it 3-2 with a shot from the right corner along the end line that found its way past Sergei Bobrovsky, who finished with 21 stops.
Zuccarello capped the scoring from the right circle a minute later.
Henrik Lundqvist finished with 21 saves.
The Rangers played another strong road game, coming off a 3-2 win in their season opener Wednesday over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Cam Atkinson also scored for the Blue Jackets, who are looking to avoid the slow starts that have put them in deep holes the past four seasons. Even a franchise-best 12-0-1 points streak to finish last season wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs.
Zuccarello started the scoring late in a hard-hitting, fast-paced first period. Gregory Campbell couldn’t reach a short pass from David Savard deep in the Columbus end. Zuccarello scooped up the loose puck near the crease and flipped a backhand shot past Bobrovsky.
Atkinson pulled Columbus even at the midpoint of the second period. He scored on a breakaway on a nifty move for his first goal on a long pass from Brandon Dubinsky from his knees.
NOTES: The teams play again Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Alain Vigneault won his 100th game as the Rangers coach. …Columbus C Alexander Wennberg left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period. …Former Blue Jacket Rick Nash was booed every time he touched the puck. …The Blue Jackets played their first regular season game with a captain since 2011. Nick Foligno was given the `C’ in the offseason …Rangers D Kevin Klein played in his 500th career game. …Columbus is 6-7-2 all-time in season openers.
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- Sergei Bobrovsky