NHL PREVIEWS |

New York Rangers vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Preview and Predictions 02-14-2020


The Columbus Blue Jackets have skated to the league's second-best record since snapping a four-game losing streak on Dec. 9, but they will look to avoid their fourth straight setback Friday when they host the New York Rangers. The Blue Jackets dropped their second consecutive contest in overtime Thursday with a 4-3 decision against the Sabres - their league-leading ninth defeat this season in the extra frame.

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The Blue Jackets are holding onto one of two Eastern Conference wild-card spots but they'll be playing the next eight to 10 weeks without All-Star defenseman Seth Jones, who is sixth in the league with a team-best 25:17 of ice time per game, after the 25-year-old underwent ankle surgery earlier this week. Columbus is used to playing through injuries as starting goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (knee) missed his 19th straight game Thursday but rookie Elvis Merzlikins has been excellent when called upon with a 1.20 goals against average, .959 save percentage, and 8-1-1 record over his last 10 games. Mika Zibanejad played the hero for the Rangers Thursday as the center tied the game with 1:06 remaining in regulation and converted in the shootout to lead his squad to a 4-3 triumph over the Wild. Zibanejad has six goals along with seven assists in his last nine games and linemate Artemi Panarin leads the Rangers with 29 goals and 47 assists while sporting a plus-28 rating - the top mark among all NHL forwards.

TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: MSG, FS Ohio

ABOUT THE RANGERS (29-23-4): Making his first career start away from Madison Square Garden Tuesday, rookie goaltender Igor Shesterkin stopped 42 shots in a 4-1 win over the Jets as the 24-year-old is expected to get the call Friday after improving to 6-1-0 since his NHL debut on Jan. 7. Ryan Strome extended his point streak to three games with an assist Thursday and, with 48 points, the seven-year veteran sits two shy of tying his career-high set with the New York Islanders in 2014-15. Left wing Chris Kreider's name has been frequented in trade rumors recently and the pending unrestricted free agent has 27 points (16 goals, 11 assists) over his last 27 games.

ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (30-17-11): Merzlikins was 0-4-4 with a .881 save percentage when Korpisalo went down, but the 25-year-old Latvian is 12-3-1 since with five shutouts - three more than any other netminder during that time. The Blue Jackets have struggled on the power play as they are 2-for-23 over their last 11 games, but their penalty kill has allowed just one goal in its last 12 opportunities over the six contests. After not finding the back of the net in the first 14 games of the calendar year, forward Boone Jenner has goals in two of his last four after potting his 10th marker of the season against Buffalo.

OVERTIME

1. Blue Jackets RW Oliver Bjorkstrand scored with 27 seconds remaining in regulation to lead his team to a 2-1 victory over the Rangers on Jan. 19 - handing Shesterkin his only NHL setback.

2. In 377 games played, Panarian is four points shy of 400 for his career and is on pace to become the fourth-fastest active player to reach the milestone behind Sidney Crosby (292), Alexander Ovechkin (314) and Evgeni Malkin (319) - and just ahead of Steven Stamkos (382).

3. Blue Jackets C Pierre-Luc Dubois has a team-best 43 points, but recorded just one assist in his last five games.

Prediction

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Stadium

Nationwide Arena
Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Capacity: 18,144

Last Injuries

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • Elvis Merzlikins

    Undisclosed
    Ques Tues | questionable

    Merzlikins is dealing with an undisclosed injury, and his status is unclear for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first round against the Lightning.

  • Zach Werenski

    Upper Body
    Prob Sun | probable

    Werenski is tending to an upper-body injury, but will be good to go for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round versus the Maple Leafs unclear.

  • Dean Kukan

    Upper Body
    Prob Fri | probable

    Kukan is nursing an upper-body injury, but it is likely that he will play against the Maple Leafs in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round.

New York Rangers

  • Jesper Fast

    Upper Body
    Ques Thurs | questionable

    Fast is dealing with an upper-body injury. It is unknown if he will be active for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round versus the Hurricanes.

  • Igor Shesterkin

    Undisclosed
    Prob Tues | probable

    Shesterkin is bothered by an unspecified ailment, but he is expected to be available for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round versus the Hurricanes.

  • Brendan Lemieux

    Suspension
    Elig Tues | out

    Lemieux has been issued a two-game suspension for an illegal hit, and he is expected to be reinstated in time for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round.

  • Marc Staal

    Undisclosed
    Prob Sat | probable

    Staal is tending to an undisclosed issue, but is likely to be available for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference qualifying round against the Hurricanes.

  • Tony DeAngelo

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    DeAngelo is dealing with an undisclosed injury, and it is undetermined if he will play Saturday against the Hurricanes.

new-york-rangers Stats 2019-2020

Offensive
Player GP G GWG GO GP1 GP2 Gp3 GPP GSH PPP PSH SHI SHOT
Player GP G GWG GO GP1 GP2 Gp3 GPP GSH PPP PSH SHI SHOT
Statistics
Player GP GS FL FW H L W OL PM
Player GP GS FL FW H L W OL PM
Assits
Player GP GS A APP ASH
Player GP GS A APP ASH
Defense
Player GP GS GA GAA GP1A GP2A GP3A GOA SA SOA SP1A SP2A SP3A BS
Player GP GS GA GAA GP1A GP2A GP3A GOA SA SOA SP1A SP2A SP3A BS
Shutouts
Player GP GS SHU SHUA SHUS SHUL
Player GP GS SHU SHUA SHUS SHUL
Time on ice
Player GP GS TOIESS TOIPPS TOIS TOISHS
Player GP GS TOIESS TOIPPS TOIS TOISHS