Bodies have flip-flopped franchises over recent history providing juice to a burgeoning rivalry as the Rangers and Columbus will get after one another tonight at The Garden.
This will mark the fifth and final meeting between the two teams in the regular season. The four games have been split and Michael Grabner leads all scorers with five goals and an assist. One point separates the teams in the Metropolitan Division although the Blue Jackets have played two fewer games.
Last night, coming off their five-day break Columbus was one of the few teams to have not left their offense on a beach somewhere while on hiatus and thumped the Islanders 7-0. Twelve Blue Jackets accumulated at least a point in the win.
Yesterday, in a scintillating “I’ll take it, no you take it” game at the Rock in Newark Mika Zibanejad scored to beat the Devils 4-3 in overtime. The Rangers picked up two more points in the battle that will continue to be for Eastern Conference playoff positioning. Today’s game could very well represent a peek at what may come sometime in the spring.
3 KEYS TO RANGERS-BLUE JACKETS
1. Skill and Grit
Like Washington, Columbus has a nice mix of skill and grit. The game will once again be dictated by a willingness to give a hit or take a hit to make the play that will allow one’s skill to prevail.
2. Momentum Swings
When two good teams meet, there will be moments where you are on the attack and moments where you are forced to defend. The Blueshirts must play to extend the former while minimizing the latter.
Whatever fails or whatever succeeds goaltending plays the pivotal role. Two of the league’s best go head-to-head and a timely save will likely be the determining factor.
Pregame begins at 4:30 PM on MSG (TV) and 98.7 FM ESPN (Radio).
Check it out!