COLUMBUS -- Artemi Panarin scored the winning goal in his return to Nationwide Arena, and the New York Rangers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Thursday.
Panarin played against the Blue Jackets for the first time since signing a seven-year contract with the Rangers on July 1. He led Columbus in scoring the past two seasons, combining for 169 points (55 goals, 114 assists) in 160 games.
He was booed throughout the game but received some cheers during a first-period video tribute.
[WATCH: All Rangers vs. Blue Jackets highlights]
"It was a great few years for me with the team and in the city," Panarin said. "I [enjoyed it], but [anger] in the game from the fans, that's OK."
Alexandar Georgiev made 45 saves for the Rangers (14-10-3), who are 5-1-1 in the past seven games.
Video: NYR@CBJ: Georgiev makes clutch save on Bjorkstrand
Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones scored, and Joonas Korpisalo made 16 saves for the Blue Jackets (11-13-4), who have lost three straight and four of five.
"That's the disappointing part of this," Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno said. "It isn't an effort thing. We've got to bury our opportunities, and I'm also tired of hearing about, 'We've got to score more.'
"There's a process to it. That's the end result. We've got to remain positive in the process, understanding how we're going to do that."
Panarin made it 3-1 at 15:32 of the second period with his 13th goal. He has 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in his past 20 games.
Brett Howden dug the puck out of the right corner to Tony DeAngelo, who passed to Panarin in the left circle for a one-timer while the Blue Jackets were on a line change.
"Two guys diving into the bench on Panarin's goal," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "It's just an awful change by [Alexander Wennberg] and [Riley Nash]."
Jones cut the lead to 3-2 at 3:33 of the third with his fourth goal. The Rangers challenged for goaltender interference, but the call was confirmed on video review.
Video: NYR@CBJ: Jones lifts wrist shot past Georgiev
The Rangers were assessed a penalty for the challenge and Georgiev made four saves during the Columbus power play.
"I just don't think we played with any pace or any physicality," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "I was really surprised how slow we were tonight. Give them credit, they played with an edge. And they played with a pace.
"But boy, I didn't think we had that one in us with the way things have been going. Thank God for [Georgiev]."
Georgiev made a glove save on Oliver Bjorkstrand with 1:46 left, one of four saves during the Blue Jackets' fifth power play. Columbus outshot New York 18-2 in the third period.
Bjorkstrand hit the post with 17 seconds left, seven seconds before the tripping penalty to Brady Skjei expired.
"In a situation like that you're thinking nothing more than kill this and win the game," Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad said.
Atkinson gave the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead at 12:43 of the first period with his fifth goal. It was his first goal in seven games and second in 18 games.
Video: NYR@CBJ: Atkinson wires home wrister from the slot
The Rangers were outshot 18-6 in the first period, but Brendan Lemieux tied it 1-1 with eight seconds left for his second goal in as many games and fifth of the season.
"A bad change goal and give up a goal in the last minute. We just don't have any room for error," Tortorella said. "When you're not scoring, you can't give free ones."
Jacob Trouba scored on the power play at 5:46 of the second for a 2-1 Rangers lead.
Video: NYR@CBJ: Trouba wires home PPG from the circle
They said it
"If you want to be a playoff team your goalie's got to steal some games and we've had a couple, at least two off the top of my head. Tonight was one of them. You don't want to do that all the time but it's nice to steal one." -- Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba
"There always is. You know what? That ship has sailed for us a long time ago. That's not a disrespect to Artemi. He's with a new team for a while and we're trying to figure ourselves out here." -- Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno on if there was added emotion for the return of Rangers forward Artemi Panarin
Video: Georgiev stopped 45 shots against the Blue Jackets
Need to know
Rangers defenseman Libor Hajek sustained a knee sprain in the first period. Quinn did not have an update. … The Rangers were 1-for-2 on the power play. The Blue Jackets went 0-for-5 with 16 shots. … Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke, the No. 34 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut, replacing Scott Harrington. He played 12:53 on 17 shifts. … Nash played his 500th NHL game. … Foligno had an assist, his 300th point with the Blue Jackets.
Rangers: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV)
Blue Jackets: At the Florida Panthers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-F, FS-O, NHL.TV)
Video: Panarin, Georgiev propel Rangers to 3-2 victory