Game Thread

Game 57: Catching Columbus

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

The Rangers are in Columbus tonight with a chance to tie the Blue Jackets (and Penguins) in points. Doing so would put them in a virtual tie for second in the Metro, nine points behind Washington. However Columbus (and Pittsburgh) does have a game in hand on the Rangers, hence virtual tie. A win (and tying the season series at two a piece) goes a long way towards building confidence against a very good team.

The Rangers are getting Dan Girardi back, which means Adam Clendening sits. Sigh. Antti Raanta gets the start as well, with Henrik Lundqvist getting some rest after securing his 400th win. I think this is the first time the Rangers and Blue Jackets are facing each other with both teams fully healthy. Should be an interesting game.

Jackets Systems

John Tortorella is a notorious aggressive forechecking coach, deploying a 2-1-2 forecheck with most of his teams. In the defensive zone, he’s also notorious for clogging the slot in a low zone collapse, keeping shots to the outside. On special teams, he usually runs an umbrella powerplay, but there’s enough skill on the top-six in Columbus to run a 1-3-1 as well. On the kill, it’s a standard box/diamond hybrid.

For more on hockey systems, check here.

Jackets Lines

Boone Jenner-Brandon DubinskyCam Atkinson
Brandon Saad-Alex Wennberg-Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert-William Karlsson-John Anderson
Scott Hartnell-Lucas Sedlak-Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski-Seth Jones
Jack Johnson-David Savard
Ryan Murray-Markus Nutivaara

PP2: Saad-Dubinsky-Hartnell-Murray-Jones

Sergei Bobrovsky gets the start.

Rangers Lines 

Chris KreiderMika ZibanejadMats Zuccarello
Jimmy VeseyDerek StepanRick Nash
Michael GrabnerKevin HayesJT Miller
Pavel BuchnevichOscar LindbergJesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh–Dan Girardi
Marc StaalNick Holden
Brady SkjeiKevin Klein

PP1: Zibanejad-Buchnevich-Nash-Miller-McDonagh
PP2: Stepan-Miller-Kreider-Zuccarello-Holden

Antti Raantagets the start.

Injuries/Scratches:  Brandon Pirri (healthy), Matt Puempel (healthy), Adam Clendening (healthy)

Crazy Prediction: All three members of the fourth line get a goal.

Game time is 7:30pm. Gifs are on @blueseatblogs. Be sure to follow our snapchat (blueseatblogs) too!

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  • Aanti could be rusty. Don’t bet the farm on this one.
    Hoping Zinbad comes to life. Girardi better be 100%

      • Danny G with the shorty and Raanta looking sharp. If the Rangers can keep out of the box they can win this game. Pp coming up to start the 3rd. Time for zuc to work his hobbit magic.

  • Tonight starts a series of real tests that are going to show where the Rangers are at in terms of the opposition. Wishing for the wild card means the Rangers are not good enough to go all the way.

    • Oh, really? you have confidence that the Rangers will beat the pens and caps in a 7 games series with that defense? and then go all the way to the conference final and the finals? Good for you.

      • No, not at all, but thinking one is going to the final just because they play in another division is just an assumption, especially if they face Carey Price.

    • Belated happy b-day Chris. On Dan’s goal, even a broken watch is right twice a day, and to be honest, do you really call that a shot he took???????

      Just asking………

  • That was a great hockey game exciting ending. Av and his Rangers pushed back and downed the tenacious cbj.

  • Complain about the D till the cows come home, but when the Rangers play five men back in the zone, they are an infinitely better team. When they play pond hockey, they leave the D vulnerable.

    • Exactly paulronty.. better puck support tonight and the rangers refrained from leaving the zone early, looking for the stretch pass. I am sure the fancy stats guys will come up with another chart explaining the Rangers defensive deficiencies.

  • I feel Columbus is the heaviest of the contenders, and even though they dominated board play, they were controlled in front. They are also better than Pittsburgh defensively. The real test is Washington, which has combination of size and skill like no other team in the league. Can’t wait till Sunday.

  • Excellent win in a STATEMENT GAME!! Obviously we still need a right handed D-man, preferable to play with Captain Ryan. I would go all out to acquire Dustin Byfigulien , that would solve your D-man problems and solve your lack of grit and toughness.. Dolan and his unlimited cash flow, can buy out Girardi/Staal or anyone else for that matter. Team has a chance to make serious noise in the playoff’s , only if this D issue and lack of grit/toughness is addressed. The 94 Cup team knew it was good, but not good enough, learn from HISTORY..

    • Do you know the NHL is a hard cap league? It doesn’t matter how much Dolan has or how much he is willing to spend. Buyouts have real consequences and reduce the amount that can be spent on active roster players.

  • Good win, far better team defense by everybody on the ice tonight.

    Blue Jackets are a good team going thru a bit of a slump. Glad the Rangers could keep them slumping!

    Ahh, now for the Crapitals! ?

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