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Monday, January 6th (All times Eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (18-20-4) at New York Rangers (21-20-2), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers experienced an offensive explosion in their last outing, and they hope to carry that scoring touch into Monday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers trounced the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 7-1 score on Saturday to complete a five-game road trip with a 3-2-0 mark. It was the highest goal output of the season for New York, which reached seven goals for the first time since an 8-4 win over Buffalo on April 13 of last season.
The six-goal margin of victory was the largest for the Rangers since a 7-0 win against Philadelphia on March 6, 2011. New York also registered seven or more goals in Toronto for the first time since winning at 8-2 at Maple Leaf Gardens on March 14, 1990.
New York grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period and extend that cushion to five goals before Toronto finally reached the scoreboard late in the second period. Dominic Moore scored twice and backup goaltender Cam Talbot had 25 saves to help the Rangers win for the third time in four games and rebound from Friday's 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh.
"I know the guys were ready last night. We turned the page on it, we analyzed it and got ready for tonight," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault about bouncing back from the loss to the Penguins.
Carl Hagelin, Benoit Pouliot, Chris Kreider, Brad Richards and Brian Boyle also scored for the Rangers on Saturday.
New York hopes to carry some momentum from its blowout win into tonight's home tilt. The Blueshirts are just 8-10-2 at MSG this season, but have won two straight as the host. Beginning with Monday's tilt, the Rangers will play five of six and eight of their next 10 in NYC.
Rangers forward Rick Nash will play his second career game against his former club tonight. Nash, who Columbus selected with the first overall pick of the 2002 draft, spent nine seasons with the Blue Jackets before being traded to New York in the summer of 2012. He is still the franchise's all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played.
New York hosted Nash's old club back on Dec. 12 and the Blue Jackets recorded a 4-2 win. Nash failed to register a point and was a minus-two in the game.
The Blue Jackets and Rangers have split two meetings this season, with New York notching a 4-2 win at Columbus on Nov. 7 when Nash was sidelined by a concussion.
Columbus expects to have No. 1 goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky back in the crease on Monday, after the reigning Vezina Trophy winner served as the backup to Curtis McElhinney for the last two games. Bobrovsky hasn't played since suffering a strained groin on Dec. 3, but he should make his return tonight after McElhinney was shelled for six goals in Saturday's blowout loss in St. Louis.
After blanking the Phoenix Coyotes in a 2-0 win on Thursday, McElhinney earned another start in St. Louis, but only stopped 31-of-37 shots.
Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu scored for the Blue Jackets, who fell to 1-2-0 on a four-game road trip that ends tonight.
"There's no excuses for what happened tonight," said Letestu. "The defense did good, we just didn't come back and give them any help tonight."
The Rangers have won four of the last six meetings against Columbus and the Blue Jackets halted a two-game slide at MSG with their win on Dec. 12.
01/06 10:46:11 ET