After seeing their seven-game points streak snapped, the New York Rangers look to start another successful run. That task might not be as easy as it seems.
The Rangers will try to win at Nationwide Arena for the first time in nearly five years when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets.
New York defeated the Blue Jackets 4-3 on Feb. 12, 2001 in Columbus during the Blue Jackets' inaugural season. Since then, Columbus has won all three home meetings by a combined score of 13-3.
The Rangers lost 4-3 Saturday to the Detroit Red Wings, marking the first time New York failed to get a point in a game since a 6-2 loss Dec. 26 to the Ottawa Senators.
Brendan Shanahan's goal at 5:48 of the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and gave the Red Wings the lead for good.
"We were reactive, as opposed to proactive," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "We were always trying to respond. In the offensive zone, I thought we were the better team than they were. But off the attack, they were outstanding. They kept getting odd-man rushes."
Jaromir Jagr had a goal and assist for the Rangers, increasing his league-leading points total to 69. Jagr has scored two points in four of his last five games, and has five goals and 11 assists in his last six road contests.
Columbus has won three of its last four games and six of its last 10 after a 5-4 overtime victory Saturday over the Florida Panthers. Pascal Leclaire made 48 saves for the Blue Jackets, who scored five times in just 23 shots against Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo.
"These nights happen and as a goalie you just want to be solid and give the team a chance to win," Leclaire said. "We found a way to score a lot of goals against a great goalie."
David Vyborny scored two goals, including the game-winner with 12 seconds left in overtime. He's scored at least one goal in each of his last three games.
Vyborny also has five points in the last three games he's played against the Rangers.
The Blue Jackets have won three consecutive home games, allowing their opponents just one power play goal in 20 opportunities over that span.
STANDINGS: Rangers - 57 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Atlantic Division. Blue Jackets - 32 points, 4th place, 31 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Rangers - Jagr, 29 goals, 40 assists and 69 points; Michal Rozsival and Darius Kasparaitis, 52 PIM. Blue Jackets - Nikolai Zherdev, 13 goals; Vyborny, 17 assists; Zherdev and Vyborny, 28 points; Jody Shelley, 100 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 14): Rangers - Power play: 15.9 percent (41 for 258), 22nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.0 percent (239 for 281), 6th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 13.6 percent (35 for 257), 27th. Penalty killing: 83.0 percent (259 for 312), 12th.
GOALTENDERS: Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist
(17-6-5, 2 SO, 2.19 GAA); Kevin Weekes (8-7-2, 0, 3.05). Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (8-17-0, 1, 3.34); Leclaire (4-8-2, 0, 3.49).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Blue Jackets, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 11, 2003; Blue Jackets, 5-0. At Columbus, Ohio, Denis made 25 saves for the shutout and the Blue Jackets scored three power play goals in 11 opportunities.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rangers - 11-8-3 on the road; Blue Jackets - 9-11-0 at home.
- Associated Press