New York Rangers Game Thread: 2/22, Blue Jackets at Rangers

Time for some Metropolitan Division hockey against the other team that has the audacity to wear red, white, and blue.

Game Fifty-Eight, the Columbus Blue Jackets at the New York Rangers
Record: 35-16-6

Blue Jackets vs Rangers coverage | The Cannon

As of the writing of this game thread the Blue Jackets are 5-5-0 in their last ten games and have a record of 26-28-3 on the season. In other words, they are simply not a playoff team and they are more likely than not going to be sellers come deadline day. The Jackets have too much ground to make up in the Eastern Conference and too many issues to address this season, although nothing is impossible and we have seen these team have its Cinderella moments before. Columbus is -26 goals in their goal differential this season which has a lot to do with the lack of offensive depth they have and the staggering amount of injuries they have had to deal with season. Yep, things aren't looking good in Ohio. The Blue Jackets come into tonight's game at the Garden after losing last night in Montreal against the Habs. Talk about a brutal back-to-back for a team that is absolutely desperate to start turning things around.

The Rangers are 7-1-2 in their last ten games and haven't been beaten in regulation since their February 7th loss to the Nashville Predators. It hasn't always been easy or pretty for the Rangers, but they keep finding ways to win games and that is just what they have to do tonight. There will plenty of extracurricular activity after the whistles tonight and, I am sure, plenty of hits and intensity that will try the Rangers' patience and discipline. The Jackets are coming into the Garden tonight looking to throw a large wrench into the Rangers' plans and it is up to the Rangers to shut down the Johansen line and keep the ice as tilted as it was on Friday night against the Sabres. Also, it would be pretty sweet to see this again...

The season series between the two clubs is currently knotted up at 1-1. These two clubs will play each other again on April 6th, 2015 in the Rangers' fourth-to-last regulation game of the 2014-15 season. As I've said countless times before, there are no guarantees in hockey and the Rangers are going to have to make sure they earn these two points instead of expecting that they be given to them. Rangers' netminder Cam Talbot needs to have a good game tonight after allowing 9 goals in his last two starts.

The New York Rangers' February Schedule

2/2 Panthers at the Rangers, 7:00 PM (win.)
2/4 Bruins at the Rangers, 8:00 PM (win.)
2/7 Rangers at the Predators, 3:00 PM (loss.)
2/8 Stars at the Rangers, 5:00 PM (overtime loss.)
2/10 Rangers at the Leafs, 7:30 PM (I guess it was a win)
2/12 Rangers at Avalanche, 9:00 PM (win.)
2/14 Rangers at Coyotes, 8:00 PM (win.)
2/16 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00 PM (Win!)
2/19 Canucks at Rangers, 7:00 PM (overtime loss.)
2/20 Rangers at Sabres, 7:00 PM (win.)
2/22 Blue Jackets at Rangers, 7:30 PM
2/24 Flames at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/26 Coyotes at Rangers, 7:00 PM
2/28 Rangers at Flyers, 8:00 PM

Mike's Player to Watch: Rick Nash

The Derick Brassard line was truly a sight to behold Friday night against a very poor Buffalo Sabres team and tonight they will be looking to make a big impact on a struggling Blue Jackets club. I'm not going to go into a whole spiel about Rick Nash playing his old team on the Garden ice, but it goes without saying that I would imagine this game might mean just a little bit more to Nash than a game against a team like the Sabres. Nash has been the Rangers' most valuable player all season and because of that he is ALWAYS the player you should be watching. So what will Rick do at the Garden against the Blue Jackets? I'll tell you one thing that he'll do for sure, and that is make an impact on the game.

Let's go Rangers.