There were plenty of reasons to look forward to this game, even without the return to Columbus of Rick Nash, who continues to recover from a serious concussion.We've talked ad nauseum about the large number of former Jackets and Rangers on either side, but this game also saw the return of Sergei Bobrovsky to the Jackets' cage, facing Ranger backup Cam Talbot.
The Rangers got things started early, when off an odd-man rush, Ryan Callahan sold the shot, before wristing a pass to the front of the net where Carl Hagelin was there to tip the puck in.
1-0 Rangers: Hagelin- Callahan, Richards
Of the former Blue Jackets currently suiting up for the Rags, Derick Brassard likely deserves most of the Columbus fans' vitriol, if you are so inclined. He never developed into the player he had the potential to be, and had some disparaging comments about his time in Columbus shortly after being dealt to New York. He earned additional scorn from the fans in the first period, when he got away with boarding Nick Foligno. Nicky was fine, but the hit was the dangerous kind of play the league is trying to eliminate.
Ohio native J.T. Miller was called for tripping with a few minutes left in the period, but the Jackets failed to generate anything. The passing was not on target, and both units looked disorganized.
Random thought of the evening: the Fox Sports ticker is overly obtrusive and really takes away from the viewing experience.
The Jackets equalized near the end of the period. Brandon Dubinsky crossed the blueline as part of a rush, before dropping the puck for the late man- Fedor Tyutin. Tyuts deked a defender, before firing the pick through Dan Girardi and Talbot.
1-1: Tyutin- Dubinsky, Johnson
The tie was maintained going into the first intermission thanks to a deft clear of the puck in the crease by Cam Atkinson. Cam struggled on the night, but the effort, as always, was there. Once he and Marian Gaborik get going again, the Jackets will return to the winner's circle.
With the ice freshly resurfaced, the Rangers kicked things off with a Brad Richards breakaway. Bob stood tall, closing the door for the game's biggest save. Bob was very good tonight, and deserved a far better fate than what he received. He looked like Bob of last season, in terms of focus and body language.
Chris Kreider is fast, man. Wow.
Bob's stellar goaltending gave the Jackets a boost, and they carried the momentum for the remainder of the game. At one point midway through the middle period, Artem Anisimov led a two-on-one, kept the puck, and pulled off a spin-o-rama to get a shot on net. The puck was stopped by Talbot, but that kind of move displays confidence on behalf of Arty.
With the game tied and the Jackets carrying the play, all momentum was sapped when Tyutin was called for elbowing, for a shoulder hit on Taylor Pyatt. The hit was clean, but hard. Terrible call. Naturally the Rangers scored on the ensuing powerplay.
2-1 Rangers: Callahan- Zuccarello, McDonagh
The Jackets didn't seem to be too distraught over the goal, but midway through the period, a play occurred that would be indicative of the night it was for the Jackets. Nikita Nikitin lost control of the puck in the corner, and it slid out toward the front of the net. Mark Letestu attempted a backhand clear, but inadvertently fired the puck into his own net.
3-1 Rangers: Hagelin- Unassisted.
Though that ownie went on to unfortunately be the game winner, during the game the Jackets didn't allow themselves to get down. Less than a minute later, Ryan Murray, who has been far and away the best Columbus blueliner, blasted his second goal of the year past Talbot.
3-2 Rangers: Murray- Wisniewski, Gaborik
The assist was Wisniewski's 200th NHL point.
The goal, plus a huge shift from the fourth line, woke up the crowd and the Jackets finished the second period very strong, and would start the third with the same intensity.
Things stayed relatively clean, with the exception of matching roughing penalties given to John Moore and Jared Boll after a scrum. I thought we'd see more of the rough stuff, but we'll have to wait for the Boll-Dorsett donnybrook.
The Jackets got a late powerplay thanks to a Marc Staal high stick on Foligno, but couldn't solve Talbot. The powerplay will need serious work. Stop me if you've heard that one before.
Bob was pulled, but after a Columbus timeout and up a man, Ryan McDonagh fired the puck down-ice from his end, scoring to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead, which ended up being the final score.
The Jackets have now lost five in a row, and will look to end the skid on Saturday against the Isles.
For advanced stats for the game, check out Extra Skater.
- Bob made a handful of great saves, and really deserved a better fate.
- Ryan Murray continues to be a rock, in all facets of the game.
Bottom of the Barrel:
- Test Tube. An ownie will always get you on this list.
- The call on Tyutin. It was a hockey play. Elbowing? Not even close. Tyuts made up for it with a beauty goal though.
- The CBJ PP. Atrocious.
See you next time Jackets fans, keep your heads up. It'll get better.