TV: FS-Ohio (HD), MSG (HD)
LAST 10: Columbus 4-6-0, New York 7-2-1
Season Series: It'll be a one-night-only performance in New York for the Blue Jackets, who would like nothing more than to build a winning streak against the Eastern Conference leaders. They beat the Rangers 3-1 at Nationwide Arena on Dec. 11, 2010. Overall, the Jackets hold the advantage with a 6-4-1 record, but are 1-2-1 at Madison Square Garden.
Big Story: It's a meeting between Rick Nash and one of his rumored potential suitors. While the motivation to stand pat and maintain the Rangers' near-perfect chemistry is very strong, the chance to add additional offense for the playoffs is also tempting. One thing the Rangers will not be doing is treat their recent home loss to the Blackhawks as anything but a fluke.
Blue Jackets: Just as the Rangers had to brace themselves for a Blackhawks team champing at the bit for a breakout, the Jackets had to bear the brunt of a rejuvenated Hawks offense.
After Derick Brassard put the Jackets on the board, the Hawks responded with six unanswered goals. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp each had a goal and two assists and the Blackhawks won 6-1 for their second victory in a row and their fifth straight against the Jackets.
They've had our number for some reason," center R.J. Umberger said. "In the past, since I've been here, we've played well for the most part against them, had some close, tough games and it's been a different story this year. They're exploiting everything on us, taking advantage of their opportunities and it feels like they came into this game with a lot of confidence against us. We have to find ways to slow them down."
Rangers: The Blackhawks certainly know the feeling, now it's the Rangers' chance to experience it -- that of having a nice big target on their sweaters. Certainly the Hawks had their own demons to slay when they entered the Garden Thursday night, but going after one of the NHL's top teams provided additional incentive. Chicago came out of the gate with four goals in the first 9:38 and rode them to a 4-2 win.
"The Blackhawks are a proud team, they'd lost nine in a row, and there's no doubt in my mind they were hyper-motivated to break that streak against the first-place team," Brad Richards told the New York Post. "We have to realize that we're probably going to face that same type of scenario from here on out, especially against teams battling to make the playoffs.
"For what we've done so far and where we are, teams are going to want to come in here and knock us off. We have to expect that and be prepared for that the rest of the season."
Who's Hot: Rangers captain Ryan Callahan has a five-game point streak going (six goals, one assist). Henrik Lundqvist, who shut out the Bruins in his last game Tuesday, has won seven of his last eight starts, with two shutouts and just nine goals allowed. He's only 2-2-0 lifetime against the Jackets, however. Marian Gaborik has four goals and 11 assists in his last 14 games.
Injury Report: Jackets forward Kristian Huselius (lower body) is still weeks away, while goalie Curtis Sanford (back) is on injured reserve after defenseman Brett Lebda was reactivated for Saturday's game. James Wisniewski suffered a groin injury Saturday and is day-to-day. … Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko (head injury) is still day-to-day.
Stat Pack: The Jackets came up empty on the power play Saturday, breaking a streak of six games with a man-up goal. There aren't many stats where the Blue Jackets would have an edge on the Rangers, but the power play is one of them. The Jackets at 21st in the NHL at 16.1 percent, the Rangers are 27th at 14.3 percent. The Rangers have had five power-play goals in their last five games, however.
Puck Drop: "I just got to laugh those off. If it happens, that's part of the game. It would [stink] because obviously I love it here, but I am not putting too much stock into it." -- Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky in the New York Daily News responding to the latest trade rumors, some of which involve a potential deal for Rick Nash