“It’s a power play goal!” -Sam Rosen, MSG Networks
When these two teams met on November 6th, the Blueshirts netted a trifecta of power-play goals. This led Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella to declare, “Couldn’t kill one off. When you take stupid penalties, you don’t kill them off. We’re a dumb hockey team tonight. We pissed one away.”
Tortorella’s rage was warranted as Mika Zibanejad established a single-game career-high (3A), all on the power-play. This led the Rangers to a 5-3 win, pushing their win-streak to four straight.
Since then, the Blueshirts have gone 2-1-0. And have continued to produce on the power-play.
Their power-play is fourth in the NHL in efficiency this season at 24.6%. To do this, the Rangers have netted a power-play goal in five of their last eight and 10 of 19 games this season.
After seeing their win-streak end at six-straight thanks to former-Ranger and Blue Jacket Artem Anisimov’s first career hat-trick, the Blueshirts look to start a new streak in Columbus.
DEEP ROOTED CONNECTIONS
Rick Nash played in Columbus for nine seasons (2002-03 – 2011-12). He ended his time there as the franchise’s all-time leader in games played (674), goals (289), assists (258) and points (547). Prior to the game on November 6th, both teams honored Nash for playing in 1,000 career NHL games.
Nick Holden made his NHL debut for Columbus during the 2010-11 season.
Scott Arniel was the Blue Jackets head coach for part of the 2010-11 & 2011-12 seasons.
John Tortorella was Rangers head coach for part of the 1999-00 season and from 2008-2013.
Blue Jackets’ President of Hockey Operations John Davidson played for the Rangers (1975-1983). And he served as a TV Analyst from 1986-2006 on MSG Network.
Brandon Dubinsky played with the Rangers from 2006-2012. He was then traded to Columbus in the deal that brought Nash to New York.
Michael Grabner is one of only two NHL players to have tallied at least 35 goals and a plus-28 rating since the start of last season. Connor McDavid is the other.
Jimmy Vesey will be playing in his 100th career game.
PLAYER TO WATCH
BLUE JACKETS: BRANDON DUBINSKY. With seven points in 19 games, the former-Ranger is off to a slow start. But he always plays well against his former team, and you can expect this game to be no different.
RANGERS: BRENDAN SMITH. Smith is returning to the lineup for the first time since Halloween. The question now becomes, how long will he remain in the lineup and how will he perform after such a layoff? Smith assured the media that he is eager to get back out there. But it is fair to expect him to be rusty.
Brendan Smith will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch since Halloween, taking Steven Kampfer’s spot alongside Marc Staal.
The forward lines will remain the same. And Henrik Lundqvist will be in net.
WHERE TO WATCH
The game will be broadcast on MSG+ at 7pm ET. For in-game coverage check out our Twitter account @NYRBlueBulletin.
It’s always a hard-hitting affair when these teams meet. It’s the third meeting between these teams this season. So far the Blueshirts are 1-1-0.