GAME 38: BLUE JACKETS VS. RANGERS
NATIONWIDE ARENA, 7 P.M.
TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO
RADIO: 97.1 FM & BLUEJACKETS.COM
SETTING THE STAGE: "I'm proud of the team…we'll get (back to work) and ready to play New York on Saturday."
Those were the words of Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella on Thursday night, moments after his team's historic 16-game winning streak was brought to an end by the Washington Capitals. While the streak and the corresponding hype around it were energizing for the team and its fans, it's time to put both in the rear view mirror and focus on a weekend of important divisional games ahead.
First up is a Saturday night showdown with the New York Rangers, who make their second visit to Nationwide Arena of the season. You'll recall the first, when Matt Calvert left the game in the second period, received 36 stitches to his forehead, then returned in the third period to score the game-winning goal while shorthanded. It will be difficult to replicate the emotional high of that game in particular, but the Blue Jackets know that with back-to-back Metro games on the docket (and three straight overall), it behooves them to get back on track.
Despite seeing their winning streak dissipate one win shy of tying the NHL's all-time record, the Blue Jackets woke up Friday morning leading the NHL with 58 points in 37 games and a 27-6-4 record. Thursday's loss was their sixth in regulation, coming on Jan. 5; last season, they lost their sixth game in regulation on Oct. 17.
NOTEWORTHY NEWS: The Blue Jackets had the day off on Friday. They will return to the ice Saturday morning for a pre-game skate before facing the Rangers. Expect Sergei Bobrovsky to get the start in goal for Columbus.
PROJECTED CBJ LINEUP:
Saad - Wennberg - Foligno
Jenner - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Calvert - Karlsson - Anderson
Hartnell - Sedlak - Gagner
Werenski - Jones
Johnson - Savard
Murray - Nutivaara