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Game Day Central: Blue Jackets at Rangers

by Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets


Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards addresses the media following tonight's win over the Rangers.

WATCH: Mike McKenna discusses tonight's win over the Rangers.

WATCH: Matt Calvert speaks to the media after tonight's 4-2 win at MSG.

LISTEN (POST GAME): Todd Richards | Matt Calvert | Mike McKenna

WATCH: Ryan Johansen's timely, beautiful goal that made it a 4-2 game with 1:32 to play.

Things got interesting at the end of the second period, but the Blue Jackets escape with no damage done and it remains 3-1 Columbus after 40 minutes at Madison Square Garden. The story of the second period? Mike McKenna, who finds himself in NHL action for the first time since 2010 in relief of Curtis McElhinney, who's out of the game with a lower body injury sustained at the end of the first period. Brandon Dubinsky was guilty of back-to-back high-sticking penalties late in the second and the Blue Jackets were forced to step up on the penalty kill - and they delivered. They'll need 20 more minutes of strong defensive posture and sticking to their structure to leave New York City with two points in their back pocket.

What a ridiculous first 20 minutes at Madison Square Garden. The Blue Jackets scored the first three goals of the game and chased Henrik Lundqvist from the net before the game was 12 minutes old, and they have had all systems go so far tonight. Matt Calvert started it off just 38 seconds in, then it was Artem Anisimov scored his eighth of the season on a 3-on-1 rush, and David Savard pinched in on a broken play and ended Lundqvist's night with the goal that made it 3-0. The Blue Jackets brought their legs in the opening period and forced the Rangers to play catch up; Columbus was first to pucks and won the battles in the first period and as a result, the Rangers were chasing the game. The most noticeable thing for the Jackets, though, was their aggressiveness and willingness to do the hard work around the net. You're not going to make life difficult for Lundqvist or any of the league's top goalies without a net presence, and they had that in the first period.

David Savard pinches in from the point and rips one past Lundqvist to make it a 4-0 game.

 Artem Anisimov scores on a 3-on-1 rush, giving the Jackets a 2-0 lead.

LISTEN: Matt Calvert's 1st period goal | Artem Anisimov's 1st period goal | David Savard 1st period goal

WATCH: Matt Calvert's goal just 38 seconds into the game, making it 1-0 Jackets.

#CBJSOCIAL CONTEST: The Blue Jackets return home tonight and they'll be back in action at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues. Want to welcome them home and cheer them on from the Social Station? Here's what you have to do...

Answer today's trivia question by replying to us at @BlueJacketsNHL using #CBJSocial to enter. We'll randomly select winners later this afternoon! 

Q: One of these three players was NEVER property of the New York Rangers (Umberger, Dubinsky, Tropp)...which one is it?

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards meets with the media and discusses tonight's game.

WATCH: Matt Calvert talks about his line with Dubinsky and Atkinson, and also a big game tonight vs. the Rangers.

WATCH: Brandon Dubinsky holds court in the Jackets' dressing room after today's morning skate at MSG.

UPDATE (12:50 PM): Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky was a popular guy in the visitors dressing room at MSG today. He spoke with the media about playing in NYC for the first time since being traded, how things are going in Columbus, and the importance of tonight's divisional showdown. Listen to his comments --> DUBINSKY PRE-GAME

UPDATE (12:45 PM):
Bob McElligott caught up with former Rangers defenseman & current Blue Jacket Fedor Tyutin after today's morning skate. Tyutin talked about coming back to NY, what it was like to return to MSG two years ago & what guys like Dubinsky/Anisimov might be feeling heading into the game. Listen here --> TYUTIN PRE-GAME

UPDATE (12:25 PM):
Here's the projected Blue Jackets lineup for tonight's game at MSG...

Foligno - Johansen - Umberger
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Jenner - Anisimov - Comeau
Letestu - MacKenzie - Tropp

Tyutin - Johnson
Murray - Savard
Nikitin - Prout


UPDATE (12:05 PM):
Curtis McElhinney is expected to start in goal for the Blue Jackets tonight. He is 2-1-0 in his last three starts and that includes a 4-0 shutout of Minnesota last Friday night and a 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday. The veteran netminder has continued his run of really solid play for the Blue Jackets as he assumes the No. 1 duties. 

UPDATE (11:55 AM):
Bob and Jody are back with another morning skate edition of the "Inside Edge" and they brought us some great stuff from NYC. You'll meet Kevin, hear Jody's thoughts on the CBJ-NYR rivalry and what tonight's game might be like for former Jackets and Rangers on both sides --> INSIDE EDGE

UPDATE (11:25 AM):
Rangers forward Rick Nash faces his former team for the first time tonight, and you can listen to his pre-game comments from the morning skate right here --> NASH INTERVIEW

UPDATE (11:20 AM):
This just in from the Rangers...Brassard will NOT play tonight and is considered day-to-day with a "sore posterior." 

UPDATE (10:45 AM):
The Rangers are on the ice for an optional morning skate at Madison Square Garden. Here's what we know about the opposition so far today...

- Henrik Lundqvist makes his first start against the Blue Jackets this season. In the previous meeting between these teams (Nov. 7), Cam Talbot was the starting goalie in the Rangers' 4-2 win at Nationwide Arena.

- Dylan McIlrath, recalled yesterday from Hartford (AHL), looks like he's in tonight's lineup for the Rangers. 

- Rick Nash, Derek Dorsett and Derick Brassard are all expected to play tonight for the Rangers.

The Blue Jackets are in New York City and we're less than 24 hours away from a Metro Division match-up against the New York Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. What can you expect from us? We'll have complete coverage for you right here at Game Day Central. Also, look for lineup changes, thoughts on the match-up against the Rangers, storylines from the other side and an interview with coach Todd Richards. Stay tuned to this page for the latest!

If it's not broke, don't fix it...right?

That's the approach the Blue Jackets took heading into Tuesday night's game against the New Jersey Devils. Coming off a 2-1 loss in Pittsburgh the night before, Richards opted to go with the same group that played well against the Penguins and gave them another chance to pick up two points. 

Barring anything dramatic happening, the Blue Jackets are likely to roll with the same lineup Thursday night against the Rangers. That means Tim Erixon would be a healthy scratch on the blue line, Jack Skille would remain out among the forwards, and Curtis McElhinney gets the start in goal. 

The front-page storyline for the second meeting of the season between the Blue Jackets and the New York Rangers surrounds a guy who used to wear No. 61 in Columbus.

Yes, that would be Rick Nash, the former captain of the Blue Jackets who was traded to the Rangers in July 2012 in exchange for four key pieces of where the Jackets are today. Nash will play his first-ever game against the team that drafted him on Thursday with the Blue Jackets in town, as he was sidelined with a concussion when these teams last met (Nov. 7 at Nationwide Arena, a 4-2 win for the Rangers).

And in addition, it's the first game back at Madison Square Garden for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov and Erixon (not expected to play), who arrived together in the Nash trade and have made a significant impact in the Blue Jackets' building process over the last year. 

It's certain to be an emotional game with both teams currently headed in different directions; the Rangers are coming off a 4-1 loss at MSG to the Nashville Predators and have fallen back in the division race with a supbar start to their nine-game homestand. The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, have won three of their last four and can pull within one point of third place in the Metro Division with a regulation victory against the Rangers.

But that's cart-before-the-horse talk right now: the Blue Jackets know they will have to play better than they did on Tuesday night, when they were fortunate to capitalize on some Devils' mistakes and eek out a 5-4 win at Nationwide Arena.

Trailing 3-1 in the second period, they got two quick goals from Dubinsky and Atkinson to pull even, and Foligno's game-winning tally came with 91 seconds left in regulation. 

Injuries are also plaguing both teams: the Rangers announced Tuesday night that captain Ryan Callahan will be out 4-6 weeks with a sprained knee and defenseman Marc Staal is again battling a concussion.

The Blue Jackets, still without former Ranger Marian Gaborik and Nathan Horton, are starting to get healthy again but are without one of their top-four defensemen in James Wisniewski, who is not expected to play in any of the team's games this week. 



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