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Rangers at Blue Jackets Preview: Back in the Saddle

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The streak is dead. Time to start another one.

New York Rangers v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets
Saturday, January 7, 2017, 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Ohio; Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Blueshirt Banter

New York Rangers, 27-13-1, 55 points, 3rd Metro, 3rd East
@
Columbus Blue Jackets, 27-6-4, 58 points, 1st Metro, 1st East, 1st NHL

SEASON SERIES

11/18/16 NYR 2 @ CBJ 4
1/7/17 NYR @ CBJ
1/31/17 CBJ @ NYR
2/13/17 NYR @ CBJ
2/26/17 CBJ @ NYR

PREVIEW

The streak is dead. Long live the streak.

Thursday night, Columbus was thoroughly dominated by the Washington Capitals to end their 16 game winning streak. With the loss ends the chase of history, the love of ESPN and the national media, and the incessant questions about the streak.

What doesn’t end, however, is the hockey season. Far from it. There are still 40+ games to play. No rest for the weary.

Columbus returns to action tonight to take on a division foe, the New York Rangers, who sit just 3 points back in the Metro standings. With two of the important “four point games” this weekend, Columbus cannot afford to get too down on themselves for Saturday night’s loss. There is still a lot of hockey to play the rest of the way, and every point matters. How the team responds to the loss will be telling. Torts gave them Friday off and is holding Morning Skate on Saturday morning, so I expect the team to come out focused and prepared.

To that end, I hope the fans turn out for this one and are excited. Is the streak over? Yeah, but so what? This is still a good hockey team. The players and coaches believe, and the fans should too. This team has lost ten games this entire season, only six in regulation. Are you kidding me? This team deserves all of our support tonight and every single night the rest of the way. We’re seeing things we’ve never seen from this team before. Embrace it and enjoy it.

Tonight, the Jackets will be honoring Torts for his 500th career victory as a head coach. I anticipate an appreciation of what the team just did as well. We saw history, but there is a long way to go. Tonight, there are two points at stake. Let’s get after it.

With the back to back this weekend, I expect to see Curtis McElhinney at least once. I would guess that Sergei Bobrovsky starts tonight and Mac gets the start on Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Torts admitted that the streak affected how he has used Bobrovsky, and I look forward to seeing how his time is managed the rest of the way.

Go Jackets. Let’s get back after it.

NOON UPDATE

CMac will get the start in net tonight.

STATS MATCHUP

New York Columbus
3.39 (2) GPG 3.35 (3)
2.49 (9) GAPG 2.11 (2)
22.8% (4) PP% 27.0% (1)
83.5% (10) PK% 82.2% (14)
47.5% (26) CORGI 50.2% (15)
101.8 (6) LUCK 102.8 (2)
Chris Kreider, 16 G Leader Cam Atkinson, 18
Ryan McDonagh, 23 A Leader Alexander Wennberg, 26
Derek Stepan, 31 P Leader Cam Atkinson, 38
Ryan McDonagh, 23 PIM Leader Josh Anderson, 43
14-6-0 Road / Home 15-3-1
7-3-0 Last 10 9-1-0 :(

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Columbus Blue Jackets

Brandon Saad Alexander Wennberg Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner Brandon Dubinsky Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell William Karlsson Josh Anderson
Matt Calvert Lukas Sedlak Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski Seth Jones
Jack Johnson David Savard
Markus Nutivaara Ryan Murray
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

New York Rangers

Chris Kreider Derek Stepan Mats Zuccarello
Jimmy Vesey Kevin Hayes Michael Grabner
J.T. Miller Oscar Lindberg Jesper Fast
Nicklas Jensen Marek Hrivik Brandon Pirri
Ryan McDonagh Kevin Klein
Dan Girardi Nick Holden
Brady Skjei Adam Clendening
Henrik Lundqvist
Antti Raanta