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Game #28 Preview: The Columbus Blue Jackets, devoid of playmaking, face off against former playmaking star Artemi Panarin and the New York Rangers

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Here’s what you need to know.

Boston Bruins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Six Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets
Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 7:00 EST
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
TV: Fox Sports Ohio - Radio: WBNS FM
Opponent’s Blog: Blue Shirt Banter

New York Rangers, 13-10-3, 29 points, 6th Metro, 12th East
@
Columbus Blue Jackets, 11-12-4, 26 points, 7th Metro, 13th East

On the heels of Tuesday night’s disappointing loss to the Arizona Coyotes, yet another matchup where the Jackets won the Corsi battle but lost on the scoreboard without truly threatening the opponent, the Columbus Blue Jackets welcome the New York Rangers and some guy named Artemi Panarin to Nationwide Arena in the first matchup between Metro Division rivals this season.

You might have heard about this return.

Beyond that storyline, the Jackets desperately need to find a way to get back in the win column. The loss on Tuesday dropped the Blue Jackets back below .500 this season, now three points below these visiting Rangers. Two points are critical for the Blue Jackets as they head off on the road after this one - banking a win tonight is paramount.

Player to Watch

I mean, who else? Artemi Panarin left the Blue Jackets after posting the two best seasons by a forward in team history. Now, Panarin leads the Rangers in goals, assists, and points. He has posted a 12-21-33 mark through 26 games, a staggering 104 point pace over the course of an 82 game season. Panarin is still only getting better despite the heights we witnessed in Columbus over his last two seasons here. Tonight makes his first return to Nationwide Arena since his fateful summer decision.

Jackets Notes

Head Coach John Tortorella said postgame on Tuesday that Alexandre Texier will remain at center heading into tonight’s matchup ... The Jackets allowed just six high danger chances to Arizona on Tuesday, but generated just six of their own ... Dean Kukan played a career high 22:54 in the loss to Arizona ... Atkinson and Wennberg both have been taken off the power play, neither seeing minutes in the loss ... Speaking of Wennberg, he played just 8:38 on Tuesday as Torts mentioned that he “couldn’t find him”

The Other Bench

The Rangers come in on the heels of a 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights ... Mika Zibanejad has returned for the Rangers after missing 13 games with an upper body injury ... Jacob Trouba, brought in over the summer with a new contract from the Winnipeg Jets, is on pace to finish with fewer than 40 points this season

Season Series

12/05/2019 NYR @ CBJ
01/19/2020 CBJ @ NYR
02/14/2020 NYR @ CBJ
03/24/2020 CBJ @ NYR

Stats

New York Rangers Columbus
3.23 (10) GPG 2.52 (29)
3.31 (24) GAPG 3.07 (19)
18.8% (16) PP% 20.9% (9)
75.2% (27) PK% 81.3% (16)
43.50% (31) 5v5 Corsi % 50.15% (14)
44.58% (31) 5v5 Fenwick % 51.89% (8)
9.25% (6) 5v5 Shot % 6.35 (29)
.920 (13) 5v5 Save % .918 (16)
Artemi Panarin, 12 G Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, 10
Artemi Panarin, 21 A Leader Seth Jones, 12
Artemi Panarin, 33 P Leader Pierre-Luc Dubois, Gustav Nyquist, 18
Brendan Lemieux, 52 PIM Leader Boone Jenner, 20
5-4-1 Last 10 5-4-1

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Gustav Nyquist Boone Jenner Oliver Bjorkstand
Sonny Milano Pierre-Luc Dubois Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno Alexandre Texier Josh Anderson
Riley Nash Alexander Wennberg Emil Bemstrom
Dean Kukan Seth Jones
Ryan Murray David Savard
Vladislav Gavrikov Andrew Peeke
Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins

New York Rangers

Artemi Panarin Mika Zibanejad Kaapo Kakko
Brendan Lemieux Ryan Strome Chris Kreider
Jesper Fast Filip Chytil Pavel Buchnevich
Boo Nieves Brett Howden Brendan Smith
Brady Skjei Jacob Trouba
Ryan Lindgren Adam Fox
Libor Hajek Anthony DeAngelo
Henrik Lundqvist
Alexandar Georgiev