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Rangers Go For Roadtrip Sweep in Columbus

Face Metro Foe Blue Jackets for First Time This Season

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

COLUMBUS, OH -- The New York Rangers will attempt to sweep their four-game road trip tonight against the red hot Blue Jackets in Columbus.

The Blueshirts went a perfect 3-0 through the western Canada portion of their road trip with wins over Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, outscoring the opposition 14-4. The most recent victory came Tuesday night against the Canucks when the Rangers scored four goals in the third period to take it 7-2.

Mats Zuccarello led the way with three points while Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller each scored twice. In total, seven players had at least two points in the win, and Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves to improve to 8-1 i his last nine starts, and is 9-4 overall this season.

Speaking of Lundqvist, he'll get the start Friday night against the Blue Jackets, a team he's had success against in his career. He's 9-3-1 against Columbus, with a win in each of his last six appearances dating back to March 21, 2014. He's even better on the road, going 5-1 with a 1.67 GAA and a .942 SV% at Nationwide Arena.

New York will be getting Chris Kreider back after the forward missed two games with an upper-body injury. After taking part in practice on Thursday, No. 20 said he's ready to go against the Blue Jackets. He has three goals and eight assists in 11 games this season.

Both Derek Stepan and Hayes missed practice Thursday after being given maintenance days, but both are expected to play.

The Rangers offense has 72 goals through 17 games this season, 15 goals ahead of second place Philadelphia. The Blueshirts have also registered five or more goals nine times this season, the second time in franchise history they've done that in the first 17 games of a season, and the first since 1972-73.

New York is also the first NHL team to have a plus-34 or better goal differential through 17 games since Ottawa in 2005-06.

The reason those numbers are all the more interesting is because Columbus enters the game with the third-fewest goals against this season, allowing just 33 through 14 games.

Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to get the start. He is 8-4-1 with a 2.22 goals against average and a .933 SV% in 13 starts this season

The Blue Jackets are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games with wins over Washington, St. Louis, Anaheim and Montreal.

Captain Nick Foligno is off a strong start for Columbus with 16 points in 14 games. Youngster Alexander Wennberg has 15 points in 14 games.

Defenseman Zach Weresnki is off to a blazing start in his rookie campaign with five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 14 games.

Rangers at Blue Jackets

7 pm at Nationwide Arena

Watch live on MSG Network beginning at 6:30 pm

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