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game preview

Rangers at Blue Jackets preview

New York to get Smith back in lineup; Columbus goes for third straight win

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

RANGERS (9-8-2) at BLUE JACKETS (11-7-1)

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


The Game

The Columbus Blue Jackets will try for their third straight win when they play the New York Rangers at Nationwide Arena on Friday.

The Blue Jackets' previous two victories came after regulation: 2-1 in a shootout at the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, and 2-1 in overtime at the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

Defenseman Brendan Smith will be in the lineup for the Rangers after being scratched the past six games. He replaces Steven Kampfer as the Rangers shuffle their lineup after a 6-3 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday ended their six-game winning streak. 


Players to watch

Rangers forward Michael Grabner has eight points (seven goals, one assist) in his past seven games against the Blue Jackets, and 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in 16 career games against them.

Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is 2-0-0 with a 0.95 goals-against average and .968 save percentage in his past two games.


They said it

"You can see things from a different angle and a different light. Some people start to pout, I just tried to find things to help my game progress." -- Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith, on being scratched

"He's the backbone of our team. It's always nice to see him like this. I'm not really surprised to see what he can do. He's done it in the past. He keeps making big saves. That's why he's won two Vezinas." -- Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard, on goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky


Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider -- Mika Zibanejad -- Pavel Buchnevich

Rick Nash -- Kevin Hayes -- Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey -- David Desharnais -- J.T. Miller

Michael Grabner -- Boo Nieves -- Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh -- Nick Holden

Brady Skjei -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Marc Staal -- Brendan Smith

Henrik Lundqvist

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: Paul Carey, Steven Kampfer

Injured: None


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Artemi Panarin -- Nick Foligno -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson

Tyler Motte -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Josh Anderson

Sonny Milano -- Jordan Schroeder -- Markus Hannikainen

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Jack Johnson -- David Savard

Ryan Murray -- Markus Nutivaara

Sergei Bobrovsky

Joonas Korpisalo

Scratched: Scott Harrington, Gabriel Carlsson

Injured: Matt Calvert (upper body), Lukas Sedlak (ankle), Zac Dalpe (upper body), Alexander Wennberg (body)


Status report

Neither team held a formal morning skate. The only players on the ice were the expected scratches for each team. … Wennberg did not practice Thursday and is expected to miss his second straight game.


Stat pack

Vesey will play his 100th NHL game. Buchnevich has six points (three goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak. Nash has five points (four goals, one assist) during a three-game point streak. … The Blue Jackets have scored within the first 5:35 of the first period in three straight games.

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