History will not be made on either side of tonight’s New York Rangers-Columbus Blue Jackets Metropolitan Division matchup.
Missing out, however, is still not recommended, as the game will feature two of the five teams caught up in the Metro standings logjam, set to go down tonight at Nationwide Arena (7:00, MSG2).
The Rangers (27-13-1) recently took down another competitor in that five team gaggle, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in a nationally televised 5-2 final on Wednesday night. Michael Grabner and Kevin Hayes scored two goals each, with Grabner’s pair tying him for the team lead in goals at 16 with Chris Kreider, who had the other one. Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves in the victorious effort.
The Blue Jackets (27-6-4) also took on a fellow Metropolitan competitor in their last game, but saw their astonishing 16-game winning streak end on Thursday, with the Washington Capitals ending the historic streak in dominating fashion, a 5-0 final. The successful streak, perhaps the most prolific moment in a franchise that has yet to win a playoff series in their 17-year history, fell one short of the longest winning streak in NFL history, set by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins, but pushed the Jackets to the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.
This will be the second meeting between the Rangers and Blue Jackets this season, with Columbus winning 4-2 on November 18, also in Ohio. The game was best known for the efforts of Matt Calvert, who exited the game after taking a slap shot to the face, requiring 36 stitches, but returned in time to score the game winning goal. Grabner and Mika Zibanejad had the goals for the Rangers.
This will be the last game for the Rangers before going on a de facto “bye week”, as they will be idle until January 13, taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs at home.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490