Columbus Blue Jackets @ New York Rangers
Thursday, December 12th, 2013. 7:00 PM
Madison Square Garden, New York City
How you perform in unexpected situations can truly speak measures for the quality of a hockey team. That is the exact circumstances the Columbus Blue Jackets faced Tuesday night against New Jersey. Going into the game, everyone (including Coach Todd Richards) expected a close defensive battle. Instead, the Blue Jackets and the Devils found themselves in an offensive barn burner. New Jersey opened the scoring just 30 seconds into the game, but Columbus was able to even things back up seven minutes later on a Cam Atkinson goal. Things would not stay tied for long, as three minutes later, Michael Ryder put the Devils back up 2-1.
Things appeared to be out of reach when Damien Brunner put the Devils up 3-1 one minute into the 2nd. However, both Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson scored for Columbus to knot things back up. Hope turned to elation when Matt Calvert put Columbus up 4-3 a mere 18 seconds into the 3rd, but New Jersey rallied back some 13 minutes later. It appeared this game was destined to go to overtime, but Nick Foligno deflected a Ryan Johansen shot into the net for the game winning goal. All in all, it was a game that the Columbus Blue Jackets from a month ago would have let slip away. Instead, they kept pace with New Jersey and did what they needed to do to win.
This is the second meeting between the Blue Jackets and the Rangers; New York won the first match up back on November 7th at Nationwide Arena 4-2. The story everyone is interested in tonight is Columbus facing off against Rick Nash for the first time since the big trade. The lockout and Nash’s stint on the IR due to a concussion prevented a Rick Nash homecoming back in November. Tonight will be a homecoming for some, as it will be Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov‘s first visit back to MSG since they went to Columbus in the Nash trade. Marian Gaborik is still on the IR and Tim Erixon is expected to be watching from the press box, so their return to MSG will have to wait.
For now we will be somewhat spared the “how will the fans react to Nash?” narrative, as all reactions will either be at the Buffalo Wild Wings Watch Party or on the Twittterverse. While time has somewhat softened the impact of the Jackets facing off against their former face of the franchise, I am somewhat relieved they are getting it over with. I feel it is just one step closer to closing the book on that trade; the last step being Nash’s return to Nationwide Arena.
Here’s to hoping the Jackets can continue their offensive prowess from the other night, as well as tighten things up on defense. I am sure the former Rangers in the Blue Jackets lineup will be fired up.
Click next for some stats and notes for tonight’s match up, as well as the Union and Blue Song For the Game!