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Preview: Blue Jackets at Rangers

Defenseman Marc Staal, forward Jesper Fast return for New York; Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo to start

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

BLUE JACKETS (32-12-4) at RANGERS (31-17-1)

7 p.m. ET; MSG 2, FS-O, NHL.TV

 

Blue Jackets team scope

Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo will start for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sergei Bobrovsky will continue to rest after participating in the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game and not practicing Tuesday. Coach John Tortorella said Bobrovsky was sick prior to attending the event. "He's had a few days off here," Tortorella said. "It will be good for him. [Korpisalo] has done some good things for us so he'll go in tonight." The Blue Jackets are four points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division but 5-7-0, including two straight losses (0-2-0), since their 16-game winning streak ended Jan. 5. "We all take responsibility," captain Nick Foligno said. "We're not playing to the standard we want to be at right now. This is an important time in the season where you need to be better, everyone is better. I think every guy in here feels that we can better." The Blue Jackets have allowed 14 goals in their past three games after giving up 26 during the winning streak. Tortorella was bothered by a 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday, when the Blue Jackets were outshot 18-5 in the second period. "I think I let it slide a little bit too much on how hard you have to play, what it is to win in this League," Tortorella said. "I've got to get them back."

 

Rangers team scope

Defenseman Marc Staal and forward Jesper Fast will return to the New York Rangers lineup. Staal missed nine games because of a concussion and Fast four because of an upper-body injury. The Rangers play five of their next six games and nine of their next 14 at Madison Square Garden but are 2-5-0 in their past seven games on home ice while being outscored 29-20. The Rangers, who are in the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, trail the Blue Jackets by five points for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Blue Jackets have one game in hand. "Our home record needs to be better," said coach Alain Vigneault, who signed a contract extension with the Rangers that ESPN.com reported is worth $12.25 million for three seasons. "We're very aware of that. Obviously we need to play well in front of our net and it starts tonight. I love the fact that Columbus is coming in, one of the top teams in the League. It gets our attention, it gets our focus right away. We're going to have to play a real strong game and that's what I'm hoping we're going to be able to do." Vigneault's contract runs through 2019-20. "It was a pretty easy decision as far as you're a coach and you want to have a chance," he said. "You've got a first-class organization so it didn't take me long."

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Alexander Wennberg -- Nick Foligno

Matt Calvert -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Boone Jenner -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson

Scott Hartnell -- Lukas Sedlak - Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- Ryan Murray

Scott Harrington -- Dalton Prout

Joonas Korpisalo

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Dean Kukan

Injured: David Clarkson (back), Markus Nutivaara (undisclosed), David Savard (undisclosed)

 

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Derek Stepan -- Mats Zuccarello

Rick Nash -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

Matt Puempel -- J.T. Miller -- Michael Grabner

Jimmy Vesey -- Brandon Pirri -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Nick Holden -- Kevin Klein

Brady Skjei -- Marc Staal

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Oscar Lindberg, Adam Clendening

Injured: Kevin Hayes (lower body)

 

Status report

The Blue Jackets are carrying seven defensemen with Nutivaara sidelined and Kukan called up from Cleveland of the American Hockey League on Monday. "It tests your depth," Tortorella said. "We were very fortunate for the first half of the year of staying injury free. It's kind of bit us here." Nutivaara has been working out off the ice and remains day to day without a set return date. Savard didn't practice Wednesday and won't play. He played in discomfort against the Predators after missing the previous three games. … Raanta is back from a lower-body injury sustained the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 14. Goalie Magnus Hellberg was assigned to Hartford of the AHL on Jan. 25.

 

Who's hot

Foligno has two goals and one assist during a three-game point streak. Jones and Wennberg each have four assists in their past three games. … Kreider, Stepan and Zuccarello have combined for 16 goals and 27 assists in 14 games since Dec. 23. Lundqvist has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his past four games (3-1-0, 1.50 goals-against average, .945 save percentage, one shutout).

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