Game Forty-One, the New York Rangers at the Columbus Blue Jackets
Tonight the Rangers will see plenty of familiar faces when they go into Columbus, the home of the 2015 NHL All Star Game, to play the Blue Jackets. I am still getting used to the Blue Jackets being division rivals and still trying to get a handle on what kind of team they are. They just extended Sergei Bobrovsky, they have Ryan Johansen, they have a slew of former Rangers who are all really solid players, and they have some very interesting guys in their lineup like Scott Hartnell and Nick Foligno, who was recently named one of the two captains for the All Star Game. However, serious issues with staying healthy and consistent have them in seventh place in the division. In case you guys and gals were wondering, there are only eight teams in each division. In other words, the Blue Jackets don't win enough games. They have issues scoring and keeping the puck out of their net, but a lot of that can be contributed to a lack of true star power and some dreadful injury luck.
The Rangers have not scored a goal in the past two games... which might have something to do with losing back to back contests against the Islanders and Bruins. Tonight, I think, the Rangers should make a more concentrated effort to score a goal or two. Possibly three. Maybe if the Rangers get three or four breakaways like they did against the Bruins they can actually bury one tonight on Bobrovsky. It that doesn't work, the Blueshirts should not be above simply throwing the puck into the net. Just to screw with Bobrovsky's head. Honestly, whatever it takes to get two points in the division at this point.
This is game 41 of the regular season which means it is the official halfway point of the 2014-15 campaign. Here's hoping the Rangers come away from tonight's game with a record of 25-13-4, and feeling a whole lot better than I did when I wrote this game thread.
The New York Rangers' January Schedule
1/3 Sabres at Rangers, 7:00(win.) 1/7 Rangers at Ducks, 10:30(win.) 1/8 Rangers at Kings, 10:30(win.) 1/10 Rangers at Sharks, 10:00(win.) 1/13 Islanders at Rangers, 7:00(loss.) 1/15 Rangers at Bruins, 7:00(loss.)
1/16 Rangers at Blue Jackets, 7:00
1/18 Rangers at Penguins, 12:30
1/20 Senators at Rangers, 7:00
1/27 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00
1/29 Canadiens at Rangers, 7:00
1/31 Hurricanes at Rangers, 7:00
Mike's Player to Watch: Jesper Fast
I really enjoy watching Fast play, especially when you compare him directly to Tanner Glass who was back in the lineup against the Bruins last night. Tonight feels like it might be one of those games where whichever team's bottom six controls possession will win the game. I have a good feeling about guys like Fast, Dominic Moore, and Lee Stempniak having a good game against the Blue Jackets. Perhaps we'll even see Carl Hagelin show up again! Who knows! When a team plays back to back games with a fair amount of travel they often depend on their bottom six to step it up. Tonight, that is just what the Rangers are going to need out of Fast and the rest of their depth forwards. Go get 'em little Jesper.
Hope you enjoy tonight's game! LGR!