The New York Rangers play the Columbus Blue Jackets
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm inside Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers are now 21-20-2 with 44 points and are fifth in the Metropolitan Division, thanks to a Carolina Hurricanes win against the Nashville Predators yesterday. Lundqvist sat out against Toronto after a disappointing loss in Pittsburgh. The official team Twitter account is reporting that Dan Carcillo and Justin Falk have remained on the ice following the morning skate and they will be tonight’s scratches. So the lineup against the Blue Jackets will be the same as it was against the Maple Leafs with only Lundqvist and Cam Talbot switching roles. After the seven goals scored against the Maple Leafs game, there are a whole lot of points added to the team stats. Chris Kreider moved back up to a plus nine, while Carl Hagelin finally jumped to the positives with a plus one. Benoit Pouliot has now made it to the neutral 0 with Mats Zuccarello moving up to a minus one. Kreider leads the team with 11 goals while Zuccarello, Brad Richards, and Hagelin all have 10 goals. Zuccarello maintiains his points leads with 30 and is followed by Richards with 28. Leading the defense is Ryan McDonagh with seven goals for 25 points followed by Dan Girardi who has 3 goals for 12 points. Girardi has posted four points in the last five games and is on a three game points streak . McDonagh has posted five points in the last five games and is currently on a two game points streak. Girardi continues to lead the team with 106 hits, followed by Kreider with 93 and Brian Boyle with 79. Girardi also leads the team in blocks with 70 and McDonagh has really started sacrificing his body recently to bring his total up to 68 blocks; there is a huge gap between the top pair defensemen and the rest of the team.
Returning to the Blue Jackets’ line-up is Sergei Bobrovsk who has been out with a lower body (groin) injury since early December. Bobrovsky had played 23 games this season and has a 2.27 goals against average with a .909 save percentage. The Blue Jackets are 18-20-4 with 40 points and are seventh in the Metropolitan Division. Ryan Johansen leads the Blue Jackets with 16 goals for 32 points. Marian Gaborik remains out after having surgery to repair his broken collar-bone. Former Rangers, Brandon Dubinsky has posted six points in his last 10 games, the last time the Blue Jackets came to Madison Square Garden he had an axe to grind and he did just that. Look for another physical game with guys like Blake Comeau, Nick Foligno, and Dubinsky boasting hits counts of 128,108, and 102 respectively. Dubinsky and Foligno also lead their team in penalties in minutes with 68 and 62 respectively. Despite Jack Johnson having only 11 points in 42 games, look for him to play hard against McDonagh, who made Team USA while Johnson was a surprising snub. While I wouldn’t call this a rivalry game, I would say there are some hurt feelings involved which fuel the fire between these teams. It’s too bad Derek Dorsett is out with a broken leg for this one.