GAME 60: BLUE JACKETS VS. RANGERS
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, 5 P.M.
TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO / FOX SPORTS GO
RADIO: 97.1 & BLUEJACKETS.COM
The Blue Jackets (38-16-5) head to Manhattan on Sunday for a 5 p.m. start against the New York Rangers (40-19-2). Both teams are on the tail end of a back-to-back weekend, facing Metro Division opponents two nights in a row.
Just one point separates the two teams in the standings, and while the Blue Jackets have two games in hand, it's the time of year when every point matters, particularly when it can come from a team ahead of you.
"We haven't been on the road in a little while," Nick Foligno said. "I think it will be nice to be together again and find a way to get some big wins that we need. Every day is another opportunity for us to move up in the standings or continue to play well and that has to be our focus."
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This is the last time the two teams will face each other in the regular season, with each side scoring two victories thus far. The Jackets come to New York having won five of their last ten (5-4-1) while the Rangers are 8-1-1 over the same span.
Here are five things to watch for:
On the road again
Sunday's game marks just the second time in the month of February that the Jackets will play away from Nationwide Arena, but four of the next five games will occur on the road. The Jackets are 16-7-4 on opponents' ice this season.
John Tortorella was forced to change his forward lineup after the team was hit by injuries to Lukas Sedlak and Matt Calvert before the bye week. The different combinations responded in force Saturday with a 7-0 win over the New York Islanders and Tortorella was pleased with the group's "balance." Look for the same lineup Sunday.
MATT CALVERT SIDELINED
Pucks in the net
Going into Saturday's matchup, the Rangers have allowed two regulation goals or fewer in 11 of their last 15 games. But they've only been able to hold the Jackets to fewer than three goals once this season. In four previous meetings, the Jackets have put 16 pucks past New York netminders, for an average of four per game. It's no secret goals win games, but the Jackets may have to get more than a couple in the net to win Sunday.
Speaking of scoring, Nick Foligno had two goals Saturday against the Islanders and he will be someone to look to again in New York. He is fourth among all Jackets this season in points earned on the road (9-11-20) behind teammates Alexander Wennberg (7-19-26), Brandon Saad (13-9-22) and Cam Atkinson (14-7-21).
Video: Korpisalo shuts out the Islanders in 7-0 victory
No "Grabbing" goals
Through 13 games against the Blue Jackets in his career, Michael Grabner has seven goals and five assists including a point in three of the teams' last five matchups (5-1-6). Keeping the forward - who leads his team in even-strength goals - off the scoresheet will have to be a focus for the Jackets.
PROJECTED CBJ LINEUP:
Foligno - Wennberg - Bjorkstrand
Jenner - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Hannikainen - Karlsson - Anderson
Hartnell - Gagner - Saad
Werenski - Jones
Johnson - Savard
Murray - Nutivaara