BLUE JACKETS VS. RANGERS
FRIDAY, 7 P.M.
NATIONWIDE ARENA PHOTO GALLERY
POST GAME LIVE
FINAL: BLUE JACKETS 1 | RANGERS 3
WATCH: Matt Calvert and Rick Nash drop gloves and duke it out. | CLICK TO WATCH
WATCH: Nick Foligno scores our first goal of the evening! | CLICK TO WATCH
GAME AUDIO: Nick Foligno scores! | LISTEN
WATCH: Rick Nash and Bobrovsky get tied up and -- just watch. | CLICK TO WATCH
GAME AUDIO: Nick Foligno 2nd intermission interview. | LISTEN
SECOND PERIOD ANALYSIS: Well, this escalated quickly. What a wild second period it was at Nationwide Arena, highlighted by a disallowed goal for Rick Nash that quickly became a line brawl. Nash gave a little shove to Bobrovsky after barreling into him (the reason for the wash-out of the goal) and then it was pure chaos in front of the Columbus net. It's been a relatively even hockey game aside from the shot count (26-15 favoring the Rangers), but the Jackets have to do a better job of getting in front of Lundqvist. He's made 15 saves but none other than a couple early ones have been too stressful. The Jackets need to put the pedal down here in the final 20.
LISTEN: BOBROVSKY with the save on Rick Nash! | LISTEN
WATCH: We all saw it here in NWA, now you get to! Dancing Kev is BACK! | CLICK TO WATCH
WATCH: First period highlights. | CLICK TO WATCH
GAME AUDIO: Cam Atkinson spoke to Bob McElligott during the 1st intermission. | LISTEN
FIRST PERIOD ANALYSIS: Man it's shame there's not much vibe in here tonight, you know? Just kidding. What an atmosphere inside Nationwide Arena this evening as Blue Jackets fans welcomed back former captain Rick Nash (you can watch the tribute video below), but then, there's also a pretty big hockey game being played on the ice. The Rangers came out and tried to establish their game early and they had a chance on the power play to generate some momentum, but the Jackets' penalty killers have done a solid job so far. Bobrovsky and Lundqvist are dueling it out, with Bob making 14 saves to nine for the Rangers netminder. The Jackets did have a few good chances in the first period, but they'll want to spend more time with the puck in the second period.
WATCH: The video tribute to NYR F Rick Nash. Thank you, Rick! | CLICK TO WATCH
UPDATE (4:45 PM): Todd Richards just announced tonight's lineup for the Jackets, and it'll be Sergei Bobrovsky in net facing off against Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers.
Here are the lines and pairs for Columbus...
Jenner - Johansen - Horton
Calvert - Dubinsky - Atkinson
Foligno - Anisimov - Tropp
MacKenzie - Letestu - Comeau
Tyutin - Wisniewski
Johnson - Prout
Nikitin - Savard
MORNING SKATE: After a thrilling win in Montreal, the Blue Jackets returned home late last night and are now focused on Friday night's game against the Rangers. They are not scheduled for a formal morning skate, butas always, we'll have game day 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!
This may be one of those games where having 15 healthy forwards becomes a real benefit for the Blue Jackets. RJ Umberger was a healthy scratch last night in Montreal - the first of his career - and Jared Boll is back from injured reserve and also, the Jackets have Matt Frattin healthy and able to play. At least one of them could get back in the lineup Friday against the Rangers, but Richards and his staff have a few decisions to make beforehand.
On defense, expect the same group of six to suit up against the Rangers.
Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start in goal for the Blue Jackets.
Tonight's game against the New York Rangers doesn't need much of an introduction.
Not only is it the first game back at Nationwide Arena for former Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash, now with the Rangers, but both teams are dead-even in points (78) after Columbus picked up a big victory last night in Montreal. The Blue Jackets have one game in hand on the Rangers, who they're chasing for third place in the Metropolitan Division. A win for either side would pull them within one point of the second-place Philadelphia Flyers with a dozen games to go.
In short, this game means an awful lot. Like...a lot.
And on top of that, both the Jackets and Rangers have been playing some pretty good hockey. New York added offense at the trade deadline by picking up Martin St. Louis from Tampa Bay, and he's starting to fit in on a line centered by former Blue Jacket Derick Brassard.
The Rangers' defense has been sturdy all season, and a big part of that is two pillars in Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi, who eat major minutes in tough situations for coach Alain Vigneault. New York potted eight goals the other night in Ottawa after going through an offensive dry spell, while the Blue Jackets were able to dent the red-hot Carey Price three times en route to a big win at the Bell Centre.
This is the type of game everyone wants to play in: the postseason hanging in the balance, two teams that are quietly developing a rivalry between them, and a significant, overarching storyline.
AT NEW YORK ISLANDERS
SUNDAY, 1 P.M.
NASSAU COUNTY COLISEUM