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game preview

Rangers at Blue Jackets preview

Panarin returns to face former team for first time with New York; Peeke to make NHL debut for Columbus

by Craig Merz / Independent Correspondent

RANGERS (13-10-3) at BLUE JACKETS (11-12-4)

7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-O, MSG2, NHL.TV


The Game

Artemi Panarin will face the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first time since joining the New York Rangers when they meet at Nationwide Arena on Thursday.

The forward, who signed a seven-year, $81.5 million contract (average annual value $11.64 million) with the Rangers on July 1, played two seasons with the Blue Jackets, with 169 points (55 goals, 114 assists) in 160 games. He is New York's leading scorer with 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists) in 26 games, including 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) in his past 19 games.

The Rangers are 4-1-1 in their past six games after going 2-3-1 in their previous six.

Andrew Peeke will make his NHL debut for the Blue Jackets, who have lost two straight and are 2-4-0 in their past six games after going 4-1-1 in their previous six games. The defenseman from Parkland, Florida, a second-round pick (No. 34) in the 2016 NHL Draft, played three seasons at Notre Dame before turning pro. He was recalled from Cleveland of the American Hockey League on Monday.


Players to watch

Rangers center Mika Zibanejad has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past four games.

Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo is 5-2-0 with a 2.29 goals-against average, .916 save percentage and one shutout in his past seven starts.


They said it

"Not a regular game for me, a different game. I'll try to show the best that I can." -- Rangers forward Artemi Panarin on his return to Columbus

"I've been working hard to get to this day to help this team win games and get to this level." -- Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke on his NHL debut


Rangers projected lineup 

Brendan Lemieux -- Mika Zibanejad -- Kaapo Kakko

Artemi Panarin -- Ryan Strome -- Chris Kreider

Jesper Fast -- Filip Chytil -- Pavel Buchnevich

Boo Nieves -- Brett Howden -- Brendan Smith

Brady Skjei -- Jacob Trouba

Libor Hajek -- Tony DeAngelo

Ryan Lindgren -- Adam Fox

Henrik Lundqvist

Alexandar Georgiev

Scratched: Micheal Haley

Injured: Marc Staal (ankle), Greg McKegg (lower body)


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Gustav Nyquist -- Boone Jenner -- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Sonny Milano -- Pierre-Luc Dubois -- Josh Anderson

Nick Foligno -- Alexandre Texier -- Cam Atkinson

Emil Bemstrom -- Riley Nash -- Alexander Wennberg

Dean Kukan -- Seth Jones

Ryan Murray -- David Savard

Vladislav Gavrikov -- Andrew Peeke 

Joonas Korpisalo

Elvis Merzlikins

Scratched: Scott Harrington, Eric Robinson

Injured: Brandon Dubinsky (wrist), Markus Nutivaara (upper body), Kole Sherwood (oblique), Zach Werenski (shoulder)


Status report

The Rangers did not hold a morning skate. … Staal and McKegg each could return Thursday, New York coach David Quinn said Wednesday. Staal, a defenseman, has missed the past 12 games, McKegg, a forward, the past five. ... Peeke replaces Harrington and Bemstrom goes in for Robinson.


Stat pack

The Blue Jackets are 5-0-1 in their past six games against the Rangers. … Nash will play his 500th NHL game. … Columbus coach John Tortorella is one win from tying Darryl Sutter (634) for 15th place on the NHL all-time list.

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