When it's not going your way, it's *really* not going your way. The Blue Jackets are finding out the hard way despite playing solid hockey for long stretches - but there aren't any points awarded for that.
The Rangers, playing their third game in four nights, were the better team in the first period and also for much of the second period, when they fired 21 shots at Sergei Bobrovsky and netted a pair of goals to lead 3-2 after 40 periods. And when New York does that, they're pretty good: with tonight's 4-2 win under their belt, the Rangers are 92-0-6 in their last 98 games when holding a lead after two periods.
For the home team, they remain on the hunt for answers after a fifth consecutive loss and their third straight to backup goaltenders at Nationwide Arena. Columbus has scored three goals in its last three home games (0-3-0) despite a large number of scoring chances being generated. Their offensive struggles, coupled with untimely miscues in their own end, have them in a deeper hole with one game left on their four-game home stand.
As Todd Richards took the podium, he led off by calling tonight's game "embarrassing hockey." He said the Blue Jackets "got exactly what we deserved" and was displeased with the lack of push from his group in the third period. Though they out-shot the Rangers by a 10-2 margin in the first 14 minutes of the final frame, they didn't have much sustained time in the New York zone and the end result was a relatively uneventful finish.
Ryan McDonagh, who was a stud on the back end for the Rangers tonight, sealed the deal with a 150-foot empty netter at 19:06.
This game turned in the Rangers' favor midway through the third period when the Blue Jackets were unable to dent Talbot for a third goal. Trailing 3-2 and very much in the game, they came out with the type of pressure they were looking for but couldn't get one past the Rangers' netminder.
1. CARL HAGELIN (NYR)
Speedy, pesky, opportunistic...that's what the Rangers expect from No. 62 and that's exactly what he brought tonight for New York. He scored the first goal, the third goal (which went off Mark Letestu and into the Jackets' net) and was ever-present for the Rangers on the forecheck.
2. SERGEI BOBROVSKY (CBJ)
When Richards said the game "could have been 7-1" going into the third period, he was in part referencing the top-notch performance from his goaltender. Bobrovsky made 30 saves - several of them of the "wow" variety - and really didn't have much of a chance on any of the three goals yielded.
3. RYAN CALLAHAN (NYR)
The Rangers captain got them started with a deft fake-shot pass to Carl Hagelin that opened the scoring, and he also received credit for the 2-1 goal in the second period. He was physical, aggressive and helped set the tone for the Rangers.
WHAT'S ON TAP?
vs. NEW YORK ISLANDERS
SATURDAY, 7 P.M.