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Game #17 Preview: New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets

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The first-place Columbus Blue Jackets entertain the New York Rangers tonight at Nationwide Arena. Here’s all you need to know about tonight’s matchup.

Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Rangers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Saturday, November 10, 2018 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
TV: Fox Sports Ohio - Radio: 97.1 WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Blueshirt Banter

New York Rangers, 7-7-2, 16 points, 6th Metro, t-10th East

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Columbus Blue Jackets, 9-6-1, 19 points, 1st Metro, 3rd East

Saturday’s matchup features an affair between two Metropolitan teams trending in positive fortunes of late. The first place Columbus Blue Jackets, winners of two straight, will play hosts to a New York Rangers squad who has won four of five games, and come in with points in their last five.

Both teams were also on the road Friday night.

While the Rangers saw their four-game win streak fall at the hands of the Red Wings with second left in overtime, 3-2, the Jackets faced the Capitals for the first time since last spring’s quarterfinals matchup, which Washington took in six games. However, Columbus was able to exact at least one night’s worth of revenge, winning 2-1, and bypassing the idle Islanders for first in the division.

Player to Watch

Nick Foligno has faced the Rangers in 40 games throughout his career, his fourth most games against one opponent. In those 40 games, Foligno has 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists).

In eight career games, Artemi Panarin has lit up the Rangers for 13 points (10 goals, three assists), including seven points (six goals, one assist) in four games last season. He also recorded his second career hat trick. Panarin’s first career hat trick, also occurring against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, came while with the Blackhawks in 2015-16, his rookie season.

Mika Zibanejad has faced off against Columbus on 18 separate occasions, recording 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in those meetings.

Young center Lias Andersson received the call-up back to New York this week following 12 points (four goals, eight assists) for AHL Hartford Wolf Pack. Making his season debut Nov. 6 against the Canadiens, the 20-year-old Swede is known for possessing both a scoring touch and physical grit — 15 penalty minutes for Hartford. Andersson was drafted seventh overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and made his NHL debut last season, playing in seven games and recording one goal, one assist for the Rangers. In two games this season, he has zero points, and four minutes in the penalty box.

Jackets Notes

Cam Atkinson (illness) did not suit up for Columbus Friday night in Washington and his status is unclear for tonight’s game. ... Oliver Bjorkstrand, originally slated to be a healthy scratch, took Atkinson’s spot on the top line alongside Artemi Panarin and Pierre-Luc Dubois. ... Bjorkstrand (14:50) led the game with five shots on goal, and netted a power play goal in the first period. ... Columbus entered the night just 1-for-23 on the power play dating back to Oct. 27 against Buffalo. ... With power play goals against the Stars and Capitals, it’s the first time Columbus has converted with the man-advantage in consecutive games since they did so against the Avalanche and Panthers Oct. 9 and Oct. 11 respectively. ... Anthony Duclair’s go-ahead goal in the third period was Columbus’ second power play goal of the game. ... Columbus has scored multiple power play goals in a game three times this season (Oct. 11 at Florida (2-for-3), Oct. 23 at St. Louis (2-for-4) Nov. 9 at Washington (2-for-3). ... Columbus’ power play entered Friday’s game 31st in the league (11.9%) and is now 26th (14.5%). ... Columbus is 6-0 when Duclair scores a goal this season, and four of Duclair’s seven tallies have occurred on the power play. ... Duclair’s four power play goals leads the team. ... Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner, Dubois, and Zach Werenski each have one. ... Tonight marks Alexander Wennberg’s 300th NHL career game. ... Columbus is 6-3-0 versus the Rangers since 2016-17, and 5-1 over the last six games. ... Since a shaky start to the season, Sergei Bobrovsky (5-6, 2.90 GAA, .909 SV%) has been red hot, stopping 60 of 62 shots over the last two games (.968 save percentage). ... Bobrovsky has allowed just one goal in four of his last five games (four starts). ... In the prior six starts, he allowed 23 goals. ... As always, it’s wait and see, but with Bobrovsky starting the first of the back-to-back, we’ll see if Joonas Korpisalo (4-0, 3.80, .884) — last started at Anaheim Nov. 4 (3-2 OTL) — gets the nod against the Rangers tonight.

The Other Bench

It’s not a rebuild, but a ‘retooling’ as Rangers management has declared the current construction of the franchise. Gone are the likes of veterans Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, and J.T. Miller, dealt for younger talent and draft picks before last year’s trade deadline. Rookie head coach David Quinn steps in to replace Alain Vigneault. Quinn was the Cleveland Monsters head coach (2009-12) and most recently led the bench for Boston University 2013-16 and was an assistant for Team USA in 2016.

Along with Andersson, 19-year-old center, Filip Chytil (zero goals, three assists) is another rookie getting an opportunity in the NHL. Chytil has played in each of the Rangers’ 16 games this season, and Friday night, played on the same line with Andersson, and fellow rookie, center Vinni Lettieri (no points this season). Quinn was looking for the trio to produce pace and edge to the line, saying Andersson has more ability at left wing and Chytil has more freedom in the middle.

While this 2018-19 season was not viewed as too favorable for playoff consideration, the Rangers currently find themselves within striking distance of the crowded Metropolitan division. Entering play tonight against the first-place Blue Jackets, the Rangers sit just three points behind Columbus, and three points from the basement of the division, occupied by the Devils.

Henrik Lundqvist (5-6-2, 2.65, .921) started in goal for the Rangers last night, which could mean 22-year-old backup Alexandar Georgiev (2-1, 3.61, .897) sees action tonight. Georgiev last played Nov. 1 at the Ducks, a 3-2 SO win. In his three starts this season, he allowed seven goals against the Hurricanes, but just two goals in the two games after, both wins, versus the Panthers (5-2) and Anaheim. The Rangers allow the fourth-most shots on net (34.6).

Mats Zuccarello (day-to-day, groin) missed the Rangers two-game trip to Detroit and Columbus. Fredrik Claesson (upper body) and Adam McQuaid (lower body) have both missed time since October.

Season Series

11/10/18 NYR @ CBJ
12/27/18 CBJ @ NYR
1/13/19 NYR @ CBJ
4/5/19 CBJ @ NYR

Stats

NY Rangers Columbus
2.63 (t-27) GPG 3.25 (t-11)
3.13 (t-16) GAPG 3.31 (22)
19.2% (16) PP% 14.5% (t-26)
78.2% (20) PK% 75.9% (23)
46.90% (25) EV Corsi % 49.69% (17)
99.6 (17) EV PDO 101.1 (t-8)
Chris Kreider, 7 G Leader Josh Anderson, 7
Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello, 7 A Leader Artemi Panarin, 11
Mika Zibanejad, 13 P Leader Artemi Panarin, 16
Cody McLeod, 32 PIM Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 24
2-4-2 Home / Road 4-4-0
5-3-2 Last 10 5-4-1

Projected Lineup

Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin Pierre-Luc Dubois Oliver Bjorkstrand
Nick Foligno Boone Jenner Josh Anderson
Lukas Sedlak Alexander Wennberg Anthony Duclair
Markus Hannikainen Brandon Dubinsky Riley Nash
Ryan Murray Seth Jones
Zach Werenski Scott Harrington
Markus Nutivaara David Savard
Joonas Korpisalo
Sergei Bobrovsky
NY Rangers
Vladislav Namestnikov Mika Zibanejad Pavel Buchnevich
Chris Kreider Kevin Hayes Ryan Spooner
Jimmy Vesey Brett Howden Jesper Fast
Filip Chytil Lias Andersson Vinni Lettieri
Brady Skjei Anthony Deangelo
Marc Staal Neal Pionk
Brendan Smith Kevin Shattenkirk
Alexandar Georgiev
Henrik Lundqvist