Earlier in the season, after the Blue Jackets long winning streak had ended and they plummeted down toward the pack, it was thought that Columbus just might have enjoyed a lucky run and that was that.
Turns out that wasn’t that.
General John Tortorella’s troops have been fashioned into a mini-juggernaut that is more jugger and less nought.
Say what you will about Torts and his bygone days, the man now has become a masterful bench boss without a single superstar on his roster.
There are leaders — Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner — to be sure. Garden-watchers saw that first-hand as a variety of other Blue Jackets put the visitors ahead 2-1, 3-1, 4-1, 5-1 before Jesper Fast got a non-consequence red light in the game’s final second.
No less significant was the superior goaltending of one of the NHL’s best puck-stoppers, Sergei Bobrovsky, who recorded his 32d win of the season.
With the still surging Washington Capitals visiting The Garden tomorrow night, there will be little rest for the Rangers.
OVERVIEW: Having come home from a tough win in New Jersey, the Rangers appeared more fatigued than their foe, who enjoyed an easy win over the Islanders. The Blueshirts had chances to go ahead early on, but Bobrovsky stopped them cold; especially when the score was 2-1 for Columbus. Then the visitors got their third goal, giving them the 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
The way the Blue Jackets have been performing, that amounted to game-over even with a period left to play; and it was.
TURNING POINT: In an attempt to tie the score in the second period, the Rangers pressured hard but were foiled by Bobrovsky. Soon after that, the Blue Jackets Alex Wennberg scored his second of the game to put Columbus ahead 3-1; and that was that!
WHAT THEY SAID:
1. MSG NETWORKS ANALYST GLENN HEALY: “The structure for the Rangers was not there. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets had their legs and great goaltending.”
2. MSG NETWORKS ANALYST STEVE VALIQUETTE: “The Rangers needed more traffic in front of Bobrovsky. The way Bob played, it was very important to get in front of him.”
3. MSG NETWORKS ANALYST JOE MICHELETTI: “New York couldn’t tie it when it needed to do so.”
4. RYAN MCDONAGH: “We weren’t sharp and didn’t have enough energy. We should have had a stronger start. Nobody should be happy with the result tonight. We didn’t put in a sixty-minute effort.”
5. MSG NETWORKS ANALYST DAVE MALONEY: “The Rangers got on their heels very early. There will be clunkers along the way.”
6. HENRIK LUNDQVIST: “They had so many odd-man rushes and that made it a pretty tough game. They win battles in front of the net.”
7. ALAIN VIGNEAULT: “In the end, it was a matter of one team making high percentage plays with the puck and the other team making low percentage plays. Columbus was by far the better team.”
COMING ATTRACTIONS: The high-flying Washington Capitals return tomorrow. Game Time: 7 PM. TV: MSG NETWORK
BOTTOM LINE: Suddenly, the talk shifts to the possibilities of Columbus at some point meeting the Rangers in a playoff tourney. Right now, the Blue Jackets loom as a very formidable foe.