It’s very early on for the New York Rangers, but if they’re to avoid a similar fate to their football counterpart Giants, whose season already appears over, they’ll need to pick up points against in a early-season quartet against Metropolitan Division foes.
That slate begins tonight in Ohio, as they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Nationwide Arena (7:00 MSG/NHL Network).
The Rangers (1-3-0) have opened the season losing three of their first four, the latest disappointment being a 3-1 loss at Madison Square Garden to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night. The Rangers allowed a goal in the first 15 seconds, scored by Carl Gunnarsson, but managed to tie it just over two minutes later on Mika Zibanejad’s fifth goal of the season. But the Blues took the lead before the period let out on a power play goal by Brayden Schenn, one they would never relinquish, before Jayden Schwartz put in the last one, an empty netter in the penultimate minute to complete the score.
The Jackets (2-1-0) are coming off a 2-1 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes, also on Tuesday night. Massapequa, NY native Sonny Milano was the hero, scoring both goals in the victory, while Sergei Bobrovsky had 37 saves.
This will be the first of four meetings between the Rangers and Blue Jackets this season. The two teams played five times last season, with Columbus taking three of the meetings, including two of three at Nationwide Arena. The Rangers did pick up a memorable come-from-behind victory on January 7, winning 5-4. Columbus took a 4-1 lead in the second period, but the Rangers fought back with four unanswered goals, including two from Michael Grabner, both in the third period. Grabner tied the game midway through, and then put in the winner on a breakaway with 17 seconds to go. The two teams’ second meeting this season will come on November 6 at MSG.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490