What an up and down year this Rangers team has had thus far, they started out the season on a huge skid, if I remember correctly it took 10 or so games to collect their first win. They slowly started to play better after that, but after being hit with the injury bug, some top guys playing through injuries, the Rangers were faced with some unforeseen decisions. Well, the trade deadline came around and the Rangers started shipping everyone. And since then they have been playing some of their best hockey too! Even with top forward Rick Nash, JT Miller, Michael Grabner or top defenseman/captain Ryan McDonagh or top four defensemen Nick Holden the Rangers certainly look much worse on paper now, but when it comes to the win column, they are 5-2-3 in their last ten games.
Rangers Kreider-Zibanejad connection…
The Rangers have welcomed back Chris Kreider as of recently and with the emergence of the speedy, shifty forward the Rangers offense has had a nice “spark” to it. Since returning to the lineup February 23, Kreider has tallied 8 assists, 2 goals, 3 power play points and 21 shots on net. Plus since Kreider has joined the club again, Mika Zibanejad has enjoyed playing alongside the speedy winger, tallying 5 goals in his last 4 games and 8 points in 5 games. Zibanejad-Kreider duo has been something exciting to watch, and we probably all can recall the goal Zibanjad scored assisted by Kreider. For those that have not seen it, check this out, but before you do. Fair warning view discretion is advised.
Aside from these two, the Rangers probable back up goaltender Alexander Georgiev has been a really nice supplement to give Lundqvist some much needed time off. In his last 4 starts he has picked up 2 wins but has allowed at least 3 or more goals in the last four starts. The play of Georgiev has not been superb, but it has been enough to give the Rangers some life in games.
Some minor news also out of the Rangers organization is that prospect defenseman Ryan Lindgren who they received in a trade from Boston, is expected to sign soon. Also, Liass Andersson and Filip Chytil are expected to be brought up very soon. The Rangers first round draft picks of 2017, have been playing very well in Hartford, Chytil has 11-20-31 in 41 games this year and Andersson has 5-9-14 in 23 games played, and for Sweden’s league, he has 9-3-12 in 13 games.
Blue Jackets riding an 8-game win streak…
The Blue Jackets though are the story coming into tonight though they are 8-2-0 in their last ten on an 8-game win streak, coming off a huge overtime win vs the Bruins, and have been rolling ever since the trade deadline. The Blue Jackets depth on the forward end has been the biggest help here, along with Cam Atkinson and his 8 points in 8 games(4G-4A), plus the addition of Tomas Vanek has not hurt the Blue Jackets and he has tallied 3 goals, 4 assists in the recent 8-game run.
The Blue Jackets have made a case for the playoffs and with their recent win streak they now only sit tied with the Flyers for the three spot in the Metropolitan division. They were on the road Monday night vs Boston and now travel to New York to face off against the Rangers, and int heir last ten road games the Blue Jackets are 5-5, they definitely like home play better and have been unstoppable on home ice over the last month. The real key to the Blue Jackets success is there 32 goals in 8 games and during this 8-game streak, they have scored 4 or more goals in 6 of them.
This is going to be an interesting matchup the Blue Jackets and Rangers have faced off three times, making this the last time these two will meet. The season series belongs to the Blue Jackets. The home team has won each time here and the Blue Jackets last traveled to New York November 6, where they lost 5-3. The last matchup came November 17 though and a lot has changed for both clubs since then.
The expected starters are Sergei Bobrovsky who is riding a five-game win streak as of now with only 10 goals against on 153 shots (.935 SV %) and vs the Rangers Bob is 2-1-0 with a 1,67 GAA and .949 SV percentage. Rangers starter is Henrik Lundqvist who is coming off a loss vs Florida in his last start allowing three goals on 35 goals. He last lost three consecutive games while posting a 3.48 GAA and .909 SV percentage.