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game preview

Rangers at Blue Jackets preview

New York trying to avoid fourth loss in first five games; Milano off to fast start for Columbus

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

RANGERS (1-3-0) at BLUE JACKETS (2-1-0)

7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN1, TVA Sports, FS-O, MSG, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The New York Rangers come to Nationwide Arena on Friday trying to avoid their worst start since the 2013-14 season, when they began 1-4-0. After hosting the Rangers, the Columbus Blue Jackets play their next 10 games outside of the Metropolitan Division.

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers. He is 7-2-0 in his past 10 games against the Blue Jackets. Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has stopped 66 of 67 shots (.985 save percentage) and has an 0.48 goals-against average in two games, but is 5-9-2 in his career against the Rangers.

 

Players to watch

Center Mika Zibanejad has scored half of the Rangers' goals. He is the second New York player to score in each of the first four games of the season; the other is teammate and former Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash in 2014-15.

Rookie forward Sonny Milano can set a Blue Jackets' record if he scores in a fourth straight game to start the season. He is tied with Kristian Huselius, who scored in each of the first three games in 2010-11. Milano has four goals, tops among NHL rookies, including the overtime winner in a 2-1 victory at the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

 

They said it

"It's going to be a tough test going into a building that can be pretty rowdy and a team that's obviously shown they've gotten better this year. We all took a step back and looked at the game against St. Louis and realized there's still a lot we can correct." -- Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

"I'm enjoying that aspect of the game, where I'm kind of being a mentor and help them in the game." -- Nick Foligno, 29, on centering Sonny Milano, 21, and Oliver Bjorkstrand, 22

 

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

Jimmy Vesey -- Kevin Hayes -- Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner -- J.T. Miller -- Rick Nash

Paul Carey -- David Desharnais -- Adam Cracknell

Ryan McDonagh -- Marc Staal

Brady Skjei -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Nick Holden -- Brendan Smith

Henrik Lundqvist

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: Steven Kampfer, Tony DeAngelo

Injured : Jesper Fast (hip)

 

Blue Jackets projected lineup

Artemi Panarin -- Alexander Wennberg -- Cam Atkinson

Sonny Milano -- Nick Foligno -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Matt Calvert -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Josh Anderson

Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Lukas Sedlak -- Zac Dalpe

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Ryan Murray -- Gabriel Carlsson

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Markus Hannikainen, Scott Harrington

Injured : Boone Jenner (middle body)

 

Status report

Neither the Rangers nor Blue Jackets held a morning skate. … Smith is expected to return after being a healthy scratch the past two games, replacing Kampfer. … Dalpe will take Hannikainen's spot in the lineup after being scratched for the past two games.

 

Stat pack

New York is fourth in the NHL on the power play at 31.3 percent (5-for-16). Zibanejad has four of the Rangers' five power-play goals. Grabner has five goals in seven career games at Nationwide Arena. … Foligno has an assist in each game this season.

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