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Rangers vs. Blue Jackets: Panarin’s Hat Trick Downs Rangers at MSG

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NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Rangers Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets entered Madison Square Garden tonight with an eight game winning streak, and they left with the streak being extended to nine games. The Rangers were their most recent victim as they were defeated 5-3 on home ice, while Artemi Panarin lit up the scoreboard for the visitors.

This game started off pretty rocky for the Rangers with Alexander Wennberg opening the scoring on a wide open shot at the 14:05 mark of the first period. The goal came as a result of a defensive lapse by the Rangers, which saw Wennberg attack the open ice and rifle a shot past Henrik Lundqvist off of a centering feed from Thomas Vanek. Artemi Panarin extended that lead later on in the second period with absolute bomb of a wrist shot that sailed in just under the crossbar.

With the Rangers trailing 2-0 heading into the second half of the game, Kevin Hayes finally broke the shutout on a shorthanded breakaway. Jesper Fast did an excellent job in the defensive zone to cause the turnover and quickly dish the puck up to Hayes who had a breakaway from the red line in. Sergei Bobrovsky never stood a chance on the goal, and Hayes put it five hole to make it a 2-1 game heading into the third period.

The floodgates flew wide open in the third period with both teams combining for five goals over a 15 minute span. The first goal of the period came at the 4:05 as Markus Nutivaara snuck in behind the play and ripped a wrist shot past Henrik Lundqvist from just inside the hash marks. The teams continued to trade goals throughout the period with Mika Zibanejad bringing the Rangers back within a goal at 7:16 and Artemi Panarin doubling up the lead once again at 11:19.

With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, the Rangers had a massive opportunity to leap right back into the game with a power play opportunity. Chris Kreider answered the bell a short time later with a perfect redirection in front of the crease, and fooled Bobrovsky to make it a 4-3 game. While the Rangers had plenty of pressure throughout the third period, it all went to waste during the final minute with the Blue Jackets hanging on to a one goal lead.

Artemi Panarin eventually iced the game with two seconds remaining and capped off his second career hat trick to give Columbus the 5-3 victory at Madison Square Garden. Even though the Rangers weren’t able to get the job done at home, it certainly made for an entertaining game. The Rangers will have a scheduled off day tomorrow before returning to action on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

There are also rumors that Lias Andersson may be on the way up for Hartford and could potentially make his NHL debut in Philadelphia.