A six-game winning streak surely pales in comparison to the 100-game streak set by the UConn women’s basketball team later that night. But the former streak is still something the New York Rangers can admire.
The Rangers turned their active winning streak into their longest of the season, coming from behind to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Monday night at Nationwide Arena. With the win, the Rangers (37-18-1) moved into a three-way tie with Columbus and Pittsburgh for second place in the Metropolitan Division, though the latter two have games in hand.
For the fourth time in this winning streak, the Rangers came from behind to win. It was a former Ranger who put them behind, as Brandon Dubinsky put one past Antti Raanta, making his first appearance since January 31, and first start since January 14. The Rangers closed the first period on a sour note, as Kevin Klein took a penalty with 30 seconds remaining, but Dan Girardi soothed the blow with a shorthanded goal, the Rangers’ eighth of the season. JT Miller extended a point streak to seven games with an assist on the score. It was part of a stellar night for the penalty kill unit, which killed off four Columbus power plays, in addition to the shorthanded score.
Though they knotted up the score, the Ranger were outshot by the Blue Jackets 13-7 in
the second period, but Raanta held strong in his first action in awhile. Just before five minutes elapsed in the third period, Kevin Hayes scored an unassisted goal to put the Rangers up 2-1. It could’ve served as the game winner, but Nick Foligno retied the game with his 19th of season. But it was rookie Jimmy Vesey, scoring his first goal since January 31, also against Columbus, that played the hero, scoring his 13th of the season off assists from Derek Stepan and Nick Holden with 6:32 to go. Columbus put on a furious rally afterwards, but Raanta held strong, and the Rangers hung on for the 3-2 win.
With the victory, the Rangers have split four meetings with the Blue Jackets this season. The two teams will have a matchup to decide the season series on February 26 at Madison Square Garden. For now, the Rangers will take on the New York Islanders on Thursday night at Barclays Center (7:00, MSG).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490