Pregame Analysis

Rangers Look to Bounce Back in Columbus After Heartbreaking Loss

The Rangers will look to bounce back against the Blue Jackets after failing to close another game late in the third period (7:00 p.m. ET, MSG).

After playing a solid 40 minute of hockey and earning a two-goal lead courtesy of Kevin Shattenkirk and Neal Pionk, the Red Wings would force overtime and win it seconds before the shootout.

At the beginning of the third period, Brendan Smith turned the puck over behind his own net and Detroit cut the lead to one.

Andreas Athanasiou would get around the defense and find an equalizer with just two minutes to play, breaking the heart of Ranger fans everywhere. David Quinn considered challenging. “Yes, we did (consider challenging),” said Quinn, before tonight’s game. But then after watching it, it was not offside.” On replay it appears to be very tight.

Nonetheless, Quinn was frustrated with the goal. “It’s exactly what happened against LA,” said Quinn. “We come on the ice and stand in the neutral zone and they walk up the ice.”

In overtime, Detroit controlled the puck and wore down the Blueshirts. With just seconds left in the overtime period, Dylan Larkin deflected a pass, past Lundqvist and found the winner. Lundqvist and Jimmy Howard each made 28 saves.  

“I thought we did too much sitting back, and that’s something that as a team we have to take from this, and next time be better,” said Marc Staal, who was on the ice for the tying goal.

The Rangers are 4-0-1 in their last five games, but yesterday’s overtime loss really left the Rangers wanting more. “We played really well for a big part of this game,” said Lundqvist. “This one hurts.”

Tonight, the Rangers get the opportunity to bounce back immediately against a Columbus side who defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions last night. Joonas Korpisalo will start for the Blue Jackets. Despite Korpisalo off to a rough start statistically (3.80 Goals Against Average and .884 save percentage), he has not lost in regulation. Korpisalo holds a record of 4-0-1.

The Rangers will have to slow down Artemi Panarin who loves playing against the them. Panarin has ten goals in eight games vs New York and he scored in all four-meetings last year including a hat trick at Madison Square Garden. Panarin currently leads Columbus with 17 points.

Ranger fans will also see some familiar faces across the ice. Head coach John Tortorella got a two-year extension before the season. Tortorella coach the Rangers for five seasons.

Brandon Dubinsky starts his seventh season with the Blue Jackets. Dubinsky was originally a second-round pick for the Rangers. He played five seasons in New York, registering 213 points before being traded in the Rick Nash deal.

Lastly, former third round pick Anthony Duclair is having a bounce back season after some disappointing seasons in Arizona. He was traded for the second time in his career last January to Chicago where his struggles continued. Duclair currently has seven goals and is on track to break his season high of 20.

For the Blueshirts, Alex Georgiev will get his fourth start of the season. Georgiev will look to maintain his strong play for the third game in a row. After a nightmare season debut in Carolina, Georgiev has won each of his last two starts and has only allowed two goals in each game.

Mika Zibanejad is currently carrying a three-game point streak into Columbus. Zibanejad has averaged a point a game against the Blue Jackets in his career.

Mats Zuccarello who missed last nights game, won’t be available tonight either. Cody McLeod draws back into the lineup in place of Vinni Lettieri. Brandan Smith will also be a healthy scratch as Freddie Claesson will play his first game since an upper-body injury suffered in mid-October. 

                

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