Blue Jackets face Rangers tonight at Garden on FOX Sports Ohio
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
STATS Senior Writer
The New York Rangers are searching for answers, especially at home.
The Rangers try to avoid a fourth straight loss at Madison Square Garden when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
New York (11-10-1) has dropped two in a row and four of five overall, falling 3-2 to Florida on Saturday. The Rangers have totaled 18 goals in losing seven of 10.
"You stay with it," coach John Tortorella said. "You just keep trying to battle through this. I wish I could tell you how to get out of it. The only way I know is for the team to stay together. We have to have a little bit of resiliency. It is a miserable time, but you have to come to work and fight your way through."
The losing has occurred despite the outstanding play of right wing Marion Gaborik, who has a six-game point streak at home with eight goals and two assists in that span. Gaborik recorded six points in his last three games against Columbus (12-6-3).
This is the fourth game for the Blue Jackets at MSG and first since 2007. Columbus had a three-game win streak against New York snapped with a 3-1 loss last season, as former Blue Jacket Nikolai Zherdev had a goal and two assists.
Zherdev is playing in Russia, and New York may be missing the production from a player who had 58 points last season. Ryan Callahan has one point in his last 13 games and the Rangers are without injured centers Brandon Dubinsky (wrist) and Chris Drury (concussion).
"Every good team has a balanced attack," New York left wing Vinny Prospal said. "I don't want to throw anyone under the bus but sure we need goals from other people to chip in."
Columbus fell to 1-0-1 on a five-game trip with a 4-3 shootout loss to Nashville on Saturday. Steve Mason made a season-high 45 saves but was unable to stop both Predators' shootout chances as the Blue Jackets' three-game road win streak ended.
"It's frustrating," Mason said. "They obviously know how to play at home, and they did a really good job."
Mason started the first two games on this trip after Mathieu Garon started the two previous contests for Columbus. Garon has received more opportunities because Mason is struggling with a 3.44 goals-against average this season.
Garon has gone 2-0 with a 1.45 GAA in two career starts against New York. Mason has never faced the Rangers.
Blue Jackets center R.J. Umberger snapped a seven-game goal drought Saturday, scoring twice. Umberger, though, failed to score in his last nine games against the Rangers.
"You get a couple early and it gives you a lot of confidence," Umberger said. "I had a few good chances the rest of the game."