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Lundqvist starts for Rangers vs. Blue Jackets

New York, 0-2-1 in its past three games, still trying to clinch playoff berth

by Craig Merz / NHL.com Correspondent

RANGERS (43-26-9) at BLUE JACKETS (31-39-8) 

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

COLUMBUS -- The New York Rangers will clinch a playoff berth with a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets in any fashion Monday at Nationwide Arena.

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who is 33-20-7 with a 2.46 goals-against average this season, starts after he was pulled 46 seconds into the second period Saturday when he allowed three goals on nine shots against the Buffalo Sabres in a 4-3 loss.

"You want to come back and have a better performance," Lundqvist said. "You want to win."
The Rangers have lost three straight (0-2-1), with the past two coming against non-playoff teams, including a 4-3 defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.

"We played better the last game than people gave us credit for," coach Alain Vigneault said. "You analyze our last two games, other than that first period in Carolina, I've liked the way we've played. Defensively, we're not going to be perfect but we've not given up a lot. Offensively, we've spent a lot time in the other team's end."

The Rangers are in third place in the Metropolitan Division and trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by five points with a game in hand. New York is two points ahead of the New York Islanders, currently the first wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"We talk about there's no regular season or playoff way to play," Rangers forward Chris Kreider said. "There's no Game 1 or Game 77 way to play. It's us going about our business and playing the right way."

Rookie goaltender Joonas Korpisalo makes his second straight start for Columbus ahead of No. 1 goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Korpisalo had 26 saves in a 5-1 win at Carolina on Saturday.
"He's played better," coach John Tortorella said.

Bobrovsky missed 35 games because of groin injuries and has struggled since his return on March 11.

Korpisalo (15-10-4, 2.64 GAA) was sent to Lake Erie of the American Hockey League on March 9 when Bobrovsky (13-19-1, 2.77 GAA) returned, but was recalled when backup Curtis McElhinney sustained a knee injury March 18 that required season-ending surgery.

"It feels good when [Tortorella] said I've earned the start tonight," Korpisalo said. "I've been working hard, tying to get better and push [Bobrovsky]. It's fun to play. I want to play as much as possible."

Forward Scott Hartnell (21 goals, 24 assists) will be replaced by Jared Boll on the fourth line.
Hartnell, who is a goal shy of 300 in his NHL career, has not scored in 13 games since March 4. He has one goal, three assists and a minus-9 rating in 15 games since Feb. 29.

"The team I have on the ice I think is the best team that gives us the best chance to win tonight's game," Tortorella said.

Here are the projected lineups:

RANGERS

Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - J.T. Miller

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Mats Zuccarello

Eric Staal - Kevin Hayes - Jesper Fast

Tanner Glass - Dominic Moore - Viktor Stalberg

Ryan McDonagh - Kevin Klein

Keith Yandle - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Injured: Dylan McIlrath (knee)

Scratched: Oscar Lindberg  

BLUE JACKETS

Brandon Dubinsky - Boone Jenner - Cam Atkinson

Brandon Saad - Alexander Wennberg - Sonny Milano

Nick Foligno - William Karlsson - Oliver Bjorkstrand

Matt Calvert - Gregory Campbell - Jared Boll

Ryan Murray - Seth Jones

Dean Kukan - David Savard

Cody Goloubef - Dalton Prout

Joonas Korpisalo

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Rene Bourque, Scott Hartnell

Injuries: Jack Johnson (shoulder), Curtis McElhinney (knee), David Clarkson (lower body), Fedor Tyutin (lower body)

Status report: Tyutin will miss his sixth straight game. Clarkson will miss his 11th straight game. 

Who's hot: Stepan has three goals and six assists in his past six games. Staal (two goals, one assist) and Fast (three assists) each has three points in three games. Brassard has seven points (two goals, five assists) in seven games. … Saad had his first career hat trick and the sixth natural hat trick in Columbus history against Carolina, and has four goals in four games. Savard has three assists in two games. Jenner has six goals in the past eight games. Milano had his first career NHL point (assist) against the Hurricanes.

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