Game Preview #43 - Finishing Strong

The Jackets can finish their road trip at a .500 record by bouncing back with the return of Sergei Bobrovsky and a strong effort in the Big Apple.

Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Rangers

January 6, 2014 - 7:00 pm EST
Madison Square Garden - New York, New York
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponent's Blog: Blueshirt Banter
SBN's Rangers vs Blue Jackets coverage

Have you ever found yourself waking up in the morning with a splitting headache, and no memory of anything past 8:00 PM the night before? There's a pile of leaves on your bedroom floor, you're completely dressed--including shoes--on top of your covers, and your dog is wearing a tiara and ballet slippers? You walk downstairs with a crippling dry mouth to find four empty liquor bottles on the counter, three neck ties hanging from your kitchen light fixture, and two strangers buck-naked under a blanket on your couch, wondering what the entire holy f*** happened?

I bet that's how the Jackets felt on Sunday morning. Holy shit.

I'll sum it up with a quote from my buddy Drew Arrigo in reference to the Indians' 2007 ALCS Game Seven loss:

Game 7? I'm pretty sure I woke next to a dead body and a half eaten deer following that debacle.


The Jackets finish this four-game road trip with a chance to go 2-2 with a win, and this game is a crucial division proverbial four-pointer. Columbus is four points behind the Rangers with a game in hand, so this game is a big one in terms of the standings. The Jackets need to bounce back from Saturday's debacle. They get another return from injury to help with that in the form of Sergei Bobrovsky. I will say that Curtis McElhinney did about all that could be expected of him, but I'll be the first to say that Bob coming back couldn't have happened soon enough. Here's hoping he's ready.

Including their last meeting, Columbus is 5-5-1 in the 11 games they've played since last prepping for the Rangers in New York. The Rangers, on the other hand, are 6-4-1 over that same span, and are coming off of a complete thrashing of Toronto on Saturday to the tune of 7-1. The Rangers have won five of seven, and are finally showing some signs of life offensively, scoring 21 goals over that span (not including their two shootout "goals"). That is a dramatic uptick from their season average.

The Jackets played a good road game on Thursday in Phoenix, and a good road period to start off Saturday. Then the wheels came off. Can they re-attach them tonight? Good God, let's hope so.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(18-20-4, 40 Points; 7th division, 13th conference)

Brandon Dubinsky Artem Anisimov Nathan Horton
Nick Foligno Ryan Johansen R.J. Umberger
Blake Comeau Mark Letestu Corey Tropp
Ryan Craig Boone Jenner Cam Atkinson
Fedor Tyutin Jack Johnson
Ryan Murray James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

New York Rangers
(21-20-2, 44 Points; 5th division, 11th conference)

Chris Kreider Derek Stepan Rick Nash
Carl Hagelin Brad Richards Ryan Callahan
Benoit Pouliot Derick Brassard Mats Zuccarello
Brian Boyle Dominic Moore J.T. Miller
Ryan McDonagh Dan Girardi
Marc Staal Anton Stralman
John Moore Michael Del Zotto
Henrik Lundqvist
Cam Talbot

Season Series

11/07/13 - New York 4 at Columbus 2
12/12/13 - Columbus 4 at New York 2
01/06/14 - Columbus at New York
03/21/14 - New York at Columbus

Head to Head Stats

Rangers Columbus
2.37 (24) GPG 2.64 (13)
2.65 (14) GAPG 2.90 (20)
20.1% (9) PP% 17.5% (18)
84.6% (8) PK% 79.9% (23)
Chris Kreider, 11 G leader Ryan Johansen, 16
Mats Zuccarello, 20 A leader Brandon Dubinsky / James Wisniewski, 19
Mats Zuccarello, 30 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 32
Derek Dorsett, 103 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 68
8-10-2 Home/Road 9-11-2
1/4 @ Toronto, W 7-1 Last Game 1/4 @ St. Louis, L 6-2
6-3-1 Last 10 4-5-1

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