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Rangers Go for Weekend Sweep Against Columbus

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

There's little time for the Rangers to celebrate Saturday's dramatic win in New Jersey, as they return home to host the Columbus Blue Jackets in a Metropolitan Division showdown Sunday at Madison Square Garden at 5 pm.

New York is riding high after Saturday's victory over the Devils that saw the Rangers first surrender a 2-0 lead before overcoming a late 3-2 deficit in the third period. It was a save by Antti Raanta on Kyle Palmieri that led to Mika Zibanejad beating Cory Schneider five-hole for his first goal in 16 games to seal the win in the Rangers' favor.

The only lineup change expected for Sunday's tilt with the Blue Jackets is in goal, as Henrik Lundqvist will get the start against Columbus. Lundqvist comes into Sunday's start with a 10-4-1 lifetime record against the Blue Jackets, and in his last nine against Columbus, he has a 7-1-0 record with a .923 SV%.

Lundqvist enters today's game playing the best hockey of his season. He's 10-2-1 with a 1.91 GAA, a .939 SV% and one shutout in his last 14 appearances.

Sunday's match is the fifth and final meeting between these Metropolitan Division foes, with the teams splitting the first four games this season. The Rangers came away with a 3-2 win in the last meeting on Feb. 13. Michael Grabner leads all skaters with five goals and six points in the season series.

The two teams are as tight as can be in the Metropolitan Division, separated by just one point in the standings, with the Rangers holding an 82-81 edge, though they'd played two more games.

Like the Rangers, Columbus is coming off a win Saturday. The Blue Jackets - who were coming off their bye week - topped the Islanders 7-0 in Columbus. Josh Anderson and Nick Foligno each had two goals in the game while Joonas Korpisalo made 24 saves in net.

Cam Atkinson leads the team with 27 goals and 51 points, while 22-year-old Alexander Wennberg is having a breakout year with a team-high 40 assists and 50 points through 59 games.

Rookie blueliner Zach Werenski continues to garner Calder Trophy talk with his nine goals and 36 points this season, while fellow defenseman Seth Jones has set career-highs in goals, assists and points during his first season with the Blue Jackets.

With Korpisalo getting the start Saturday, All Star Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in goal for the Blue Jackets. He's 31-13-3 this season with a 2.21 GAA and a .925 SV%. 

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