Rangers at Blue Jackets
The New York Rangers may find themselves in the cellar of the Metropolitan Division, but their upcoming four-game stretch against division foes will go a long way in determining if they stay there. The Rangers look to start that run off on the right foot on Friday when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.
New York will look to its potent power play that has scored five of its 10 goals this season, with Mika Zibanejad accounting for his NHL-best fourth man-advantage tally in Monday afternoon's 3-1 loss to St. Louis. Zibanejad (team-leading five goals) is riding a career-best four-game goal streak, but has just two tallies in 14 career encounters with the Blue Jackets. Columbus' Sonny Milano capped his first career two-goal performance by converting a breakaway in overtime in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Carolina and the 21-year-old Massapequa, N.Y., native could have extra incentive to put forth a strong performance on Friday. "I guess my dad tried putting it in my head to hate the Rangers, because he grew up hating them, but I didn't really mind them too much. I never hated them, but I was never a fan of them," said Milano, who leads all rookies with four goals.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NHL.TV, NHL Network, SN1, TVAS, MSG (New York), FSN Ohio (Columbus)
ABOUT THE RANGERS (1-3-0): Henrik Lundqvist has held Columbus' number to the tune of posting a 7-2-0 mark in his last 10 appearances, including yielding two goals or fewer in five of those contests. The 35-year-old Swede has sputtered in the early going, permitting at least two first-period goals in his team's three losses this season. Rick Nash, who holds Columbus' franchise records in games played (674), goals (289), assists (258), and points (547), has yet to record a point this season.
ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (2-1-0): Sergei Bobrovsky has been stellar out of the blocks, turning aside 66 of 67 shots - with his lone goal allowed coming with 1:15 left in the third period versus the Hurricanes. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner has struggled with the Rangers, posting a 5-9-2 career mark with a 2.88 goals-against average in 17 appearances. Artemi Panarin has been held in check in back-to-back contests following a three-assist performance in the season opener, and looks to remain dominant versus a New York team that he has gouged for four goals and two assists in four career meetings.
1. New York D Nick Holden notched four assists in the season series versus Columbus last season.
2. Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno has set up a goal in each contest this season, but has yet to record a point on the power play after netting a career-high 11 goals and 21 points with the man advantage last season.
3. The Rangers will host Metropolitan foes New Jersey (Saturday), Pittsburgh (Tuesday) and the New York Islanders (Thursday) to begin a six-game homestand.