Where to start with this one?
On one hand, John Tortorella had to be pleased with 30-ish minutes of solid hockey and a persistent effort in the Blue Jackets' first game back from the All-Star break. On the other hand, the third period was reminiscent of their sloppy play in recent games and it allowed the Rangers to make a game out of what should have been a blowout.
Nevertheless, it's a regulation win against a division opponent and a much-needed one at that. The Blue Jackets snapped a two-game skid with a 6-4 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, ensuring they would again avoid a three-game losing streak (they've yet to have one this season) and boosted their record to 33-12-4.
The third period was, in a word, survival.
An explosive second period of four goals gave the Blue Jackets a commanding 5-0 lead after two periods. They seemed in total control despite not being on their game, and it was a simple approach: they put pucks upon pucks toward the net, eventually chasing Henrik Lundqvist after three goals and then tacking three more on Antti Raanta's account.
But once things went a little wayward in the third period, it was downhill for the Rangers and the Blue Jackets did whatever they could not to take on water.
"I'm a little bothered by what happened there (in the third period)," captain Nick Foligno said. "It's a 6-0 game. They should have no life. I did not like our answer to a couple of those things. That was not the way anyone wants to come in here feeling after a win."
Video: Brad Shaw's reaction to the Blue Jackets' win in NYC
Here's what we learned:
WEATHER THE STORM: Only 11 seconds into the game, the Blue Jackets were shorthanded. A bouncing puck eluded two players and gave the Rangers a scoring chance behind the Columbus defense, forcing Brandon Dubinsky into a hooking penalty that may have prevented a goal. The Rangers had their chances, but Joonas Korpisalo made six early saves (four on the power play) to calm things down for the Blue Jackets. It was a struggle for all parties in the third period, but Korpisalo keeping the Rangers off the board early was a boost for the visitors.
"Korpi was fantastic in the first five minutes. He gave us a chance to get our bearings and go to work," assistant coach Brad Shaw said.
Video: Jones nets two in Blue Jackets' 6-4 win past Rangers
A NEW MARK FOR WENNY: Alexander Wennberg's line has been challenged by the coaching staff to step up and be better offensively. Brandon Saad was back on the board Thursday night, and in this game, the trio did some collective damage on the scoresheet. Saad got his 100th career goal in the second period to make it 2-0, then Wennberg got a goal of his own and Foligno chipped in to make it a 5-0 Columbus lead. Wennberg finished with three points (goal, two assists) to surpass his total goals, assists and points from a year ago.
WORK TO DO: They'll gladly take two points from the Rangers and move on, but the Blue Jackets will be thinking about their third period when they hit the ice for practice on Wednesday. When Tortorella called timeout in the third period after the third Rangers goal, he didn't say a word; the talking was done by the players, and as Brandon Dubinsky said, to remind each other that they were still in a good position but needed to tighten up.
Video: Seth on his two goals tonight in NYC
"We have to have a better awareness of when the other team is ramping things up," Shaw said. "We have to recognize there and simplify our game. We talked about playing simple. We talked about playing as if it was a tie game and staying with it. It's easier said than done, but we obviously have a lot of growing to do."