Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky will play his first game at Madison Square Garden on Thursday since being traded by the New York Rangers on July 23, 2012. His main goal is to help the Blue Jackets leave with two points, but Dubinsky is eager to prove Rangers brass wrong for dealing him to Columbus.
Dubisnky is one of several former Rangers now with the Blue Jackets, along with defensemen Tim Erixon and Fedor Tyutin, and forwards Marian Gaborik and Artem Anisimov. Gaborik will not play Thursday because of a knee injury.
"I'm going to go in there fired up tomorrow night, trying to show [Rangers] management that they made the wrong decision trading me, and let them know, try to make them feel, like they wish they still had me," Dubinsky told The Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday. "I think all of us feel that way. I talked to Gabby. He's bummed for sure he doesn't have the opportunity to play. [Dorsett] and [Nash] and [Brassard] and Johnny Moore are feeling the same thing, I'm sure, like they want to stick it to us.
"That's the type of rivalry it can be for sure."
Dubinsky, who played five full seasons for the Rangers, was part of the trade that brought Nash to New York. Nash, 29, has six goals and five assists in 15 games this season. He missed more than a month after sustaining a concussion on Oct. 8 in a game against the San Jose Sharks and did not play in the team's first meeting, which the Rangers won 4-2 at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 7.
"It'll be fun, but I think I only know one guy, maybe two or three guys that I played with. It's a totally different team," Nash told the Dispatch. "More importantly we have to win games here. We're worried about the Rangers and not other things.”
Here's a closer look at the action Thursday:
Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Rangers -- Columbus has fared well since losing No. 1 goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, winning two of the three games since Bobrovsky sustained a groin injury. Curtis McElhinney has performed well in Bobrovsky's absence, stopping 78 of 84 shots with one shutout. The Rangers have struggled in December, winning once in five games (1-3-1) and losing defenseman Marc Staal (concussion) and captain Ryan Callahan (knee) along the way. New York is 0-2-1 on its nine-game homestand.
Montreal Canadiens at Philadelphia Flyers -- Philadelphia had a rough night Wednesday, allowing goals to seven players in a 7-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. Ray Emery, who went 17-1-0 for Chicago last season, was pulled after the Flyers goalie allowed six goals on 18 shots. Montreal had a five-game winning streak snapped Tuesday, when it was blanked in a 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Bell Centre. Canadiens goalie Carey Price stopped 12 of 16 shots before being replaced by Peter Budaj.
Buffalo Sabres at Ottawa Senators -- It's the second game of a home-and-home series that shifts to Canadian Tire Centre. Buffalo ended a three-game skid with a 2-1 shootout win against Ottawa at First Niagara Center on Tuesday behind a 35 saves from Ryan Miller. Buffalo is 3-22-2 in games that end in either regulation or overtime, but it's 4-0 in the penalty-shot tiebreaker. Ottawa is 1-5 in shootouts.
Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning -- The Red Wings could be without No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard for a bit after he tweaked his knee during practice Wednesday. The injury forced Detroit to recall Petr Mrazek from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League. Howard made 25 saves Tuesday, but the Red Wings blew a 2-0 lead in the third period of a 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers. Jonas Gustavsson will get the start against the Lightning, who allowed four goals to Alex Ovechkin and lost 6-5 to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. Tampa Bay is 5-6-2 without injured forward Steven Stamkos.
Toronto Maple Leafs at St. Louis Blues -- The Maple Leafs hope to bounce back after a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday. Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier made 20 saves in his first game against his former team after being traded to Toronto last summer. St. Louis returns home after a 2-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Tuesday. The Blues, who have allowed 67 goals in 29 games, are 12-2-2 at Scottrade Center.
Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators -- It's the first time these teams will play each other since becoming Central Division rivals. Dallas has three wins in its past nine games and is coming off a 6-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. Nashville went 0-3-1 on its recent four-game homestand but responded with a 4-1 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. The Predators' fourth line of Paul Gaustad, Matt Hendricks and Rich Clune combined for three goals and seven points.
Colorado Avalanche at Winnipeg Jets -- Colorado will aim to avoid a third straight loss after losing in regulation to the Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes. The Avalanche, who are 8-8-0 since a 12-1-0 start, have scored 15 goals in their past eight games. Winnipeg opened a three-game homestand Tuesday but lost 2-1 to the St. Louis Blues. Jets forward Bryan Little tied it 1-1 early in the third period, but Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored with 3:02 left. Little's goal ended what had been an 0-for-18 slump for the Jets on the power play.
Carolina Hurricanes at Calgary Flames -- Carolina continues its four-game road trip after earning a point in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, when the Hurricanes rallied from a 4-1 deficit. Calgary will be looking to avoid a three-game losing streak on home ice following a 2-1 defeat against Jarome Iginla and the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. Flames forward Jiri Hudler has a four-game point streak.
New York Islanders at Phoenix Coyotes -- Ryan Strome, who leads the American Hockey League with 33 points in 23 games, is set to make his Islanders debut after being promoted Wednesday. Strome was New York's first-round pick (No. 5) in the 2011 NHL Draft and will attempt to inject some secondary scoring into a team that ended a 10-game winless streak with a 3-2 shootout victory against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. Phoenix returns home after a 3-1 victory against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. Antoine Vermette had two goals for the Coyotes.
Boston Bruins at Edmonton Oilers -- With the drama of Iginla's return to Calgary out of the way, the Bruins head to Rexall Place looking to extend their three-game winning streak. Boston trailed 1-0 late in the third period Tuesday, but David Krejci and Reilly Smith scored 1:38 apart to help the Bruins to their seventh win in the past nine games. Edmonton is 2-1-1 on its five-game homestand and has won seven of its past 11 following the victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Oilers forward Taylor Hall has five goals and two assists over the past three games.
Minnesota Wild at San Jose Sharks -- Minnesota received another strong performance from goalie Josh Harding on Wednesday (29 saves), but it wasn't enough in a 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. San Jose will be looking to end a four-game winless streak (0-3-1). The Sharks blew a 2-0 lead in the third period Tuesday en route to a 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Islanders at SAP Center.