As most of you know, yours truly here is also a die-hard fan of the Cleveland Indians. They had a magical season this year, featuring a record 22 game winning streak en route to 102 wins and the best record in the American League. Alas, that all came crashing to a sudden halt on Wednesday night when they were eliminated in the ALDS by the New York Yankees. I would have been heartbroken in any case, but the fact that it was the GOD DAMN YANKEES that did it was just too much to bear.
All this is to say that I would feel a lot better if Ohio got revenge tonight by the Columbus Blue Jackets taking it to the New York Rangers. Of course, there is plenty of reason to want a victory as is. As reported by Aaron Portzline, The Rangers have won 5 of the last 6 meetings in Nationwide Arena, and 7 of 9 since the teams were paired up in the Metropolitan Division.
Columbus is 2-0 in the Metro to start the season and are looking to keep pace in the upper half of that group. Late in the game on Tuesday, Torts returned to the top 2 forward lines from camp, with the PAW Patrol on the first line and Nick Foligno centering the second line between the youngsters Oliver BJORKSTRAND and Sonny Milano. Milano of course was the hero on Tuesday with both goals, including the OT game winner. He leads the team with 4 goals in 3 games, while no one else has more than 1.
Josh Anderson joined the Dubinsky line on Tuesday while rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois dropped to the Sedlak line. The only other change tonight is the return of Zac Dalpe in place of Markus Hannikainen. One has to assume Hannikainen’s late turnover that resulted in a tying goal may have contributed to this decision, but Torts insists Dalpe has earned this opportunity.
Across the ice, the Rangers have had a very disappointing start to the season, dropping 3 of 4 including 2 of 3 at home. It was a tumultuous offseason, as they added star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in free agency, but lost key players such as Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta. The loss of Stepan via trade and Oscar Linderg via expansion draft means that the Rangers have a problem with depth down the middle. Sound familiar?
Like Milano, Mike Zibanejad is the only Ranger with multiple goals. The Rangers have converted 5 of their 16 power play opportunities, which will pose a great challenge for the CBJ PK. The good news is the New York has struggled defensively in all situations.
|Artemi Panarin||Alexander Wennberg||Cam Atkinson|
|Sonny Milano||Nick Foligno||Oliver BJORKSTRAND|
|Matt Calvert||Brandon Dubinsky||Josh Anderson|
|Pierre-Luc Dubois||Lukas Sedlak||Zac Dalpe|
|Zach Werenski||Seth Jones|
|Jack Johnson||David Savard|
|Ryan Murray||Gabriel Carlsson|
|Pavel Buchnevich||Mika Zibanejad||Chris Kreider|
|Rick Nash||J.T. Miller||Mats Zuccarello|
|Michael Grabner||Kevin Hayes||Jimmy Vesey|
|Paul Carey||David Desharnais||Adam Cracknell|
|Ryan McDonagh||Marc Staal|
|Brady Skjei||Kevin Shattenkirk|
|Nick Holden||Steven Kampfer|