Rangers rally past Blue Jackets 5-3 for 4th straight win
By SCOTT CHARLES, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Given three power-play chances in the third period, the New York Rangers converted them all in a comeback victory over Columbus.
Michael Grabner had two goals and the Rangers scored four times in the third to rally past the Blue Jackets 5-3 on Monday night for their fourth straight win.
Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich scored in the third for the Rangers. Mika Zibanejad had an assist on all three power-play goals.
“It makes a big difference when you have success on the power play,” defenseman Marc Staal said. “When you win the special teams game, you are going to come out on top a lot of nights.”
New York trailed 2-0 before Grabner got his first of the game at 12:41 of the second. He sealed it on an empty-netter with 49 seconds left.
Shattenkirk and Buchnevich each had a goal and an assist. Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves as the Rangers improved to 7-7-2.
“The guys are determined to come back in this game, but there is no question as to why we won this game,” Lundqvist said. “The power play stepped up big-time for us.”
Artemi Panarin, Josh Anderson and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored for the Blue Jackets in the finale of their three-game road trip.
“We don’t deserve to win,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said after losing to his former team. “When you take stupid penalties, you don’t kill them off. We’re a dumb hockey team tonight. We (gave) one away.”
The Blue Jackets struck twice early in the second period after being outshot 10-4 in a scoreless first. Panarin was left alone in the slot and scored his second of the season 38 seconds into the period. Anderson beat Lundqvist with a nifty wrist shot to the far side at 4:24.
“We knew we weren’t playing our game,” Shattenkirk said. “It was again, another one of those lapses. But I think the best part about it, we have been able to cut those lapses off, unlike the beginning of the season where we have been letting it go on too long and then it’s a three-, four-goal lead.”
New York cut the deficit to 2-1 when Grabner scored his sixth of the season. J.T. Miller entered the offensive zone with speed and tried to pull up short and spin to his backhand. In the process, he slipped but still managed to slide the puck from his knees to the front of the net, where Grabner did the rest. It was Miller’s fourth assist in two games.
Shattenkirk tied it 2-all at 5:10 of the third when his wrist shot beat reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky. Shattenkirk extended his point streak to five games.
Less than three minutes later, Bjorkstrand gave Columbus a 3-2 lead. Boone Jenner was able to drive the puck to the net and Shattenkirk was unable to slow down the power forward. Lundqvist proceeded to lose his stick in an accidental collision, and Brandon Dubinsky found Bjorkstrand alone in front to give the Blue Jackets the lead at 8:01.
But just 1:39 later, Kreider scored a power-play goal to tie it again. Buchnevich picked up an assist on the play.
“He is such a dynamic player. He’s got a ton of speed, great shot,” Shattenkirk said of Kreider. “When he’s going, playing a north-and-south game, that’s when he is at his best.”
Only 1:47 after that, Zibanejad slid a backhand pass across the ice to Buchnevich as the Rangers took a 4-3 lead at 11:27. New York’s power-play unit has scored in three of the last four games.
Bobrovsky made 21 saves as the Blue Jackets began their fourth set of back-to-back games this season.
“We had a good jump there to start the second,” Dubinsky said. “We had a lead going into our third on the road and we need to find a way to get the job done, but we didn’t do it tonight. It’s another lesson as we go through here. It’s a long season and something that we can learn from.”
NOTES: The Rangers held a pregame ceremony honoring forward Rick Nash, who skated in his 1,000th NHL game on Oct. 26 against Arizona. Nash was drafted first overall in 2002 by Columbus and played in 674 games with the Blue Jackets. He was traded to New York in July 2012. “It was a special night for Nasher,” Lundqvist said. “You want to make sure it’s a fun night to look back at, so just really happy with the way we battled, especially in the third.” … Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello played his 399th career game. … New York C Boo Nieves missed his second straight game with the flu. … Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith was scratched for the third consecutive game and fourth time this season. … Alain Vigneault earned his 621st win as an NHL coach, passing Bryan Murray for sole possession of 12th place on the career list. … Columbus placed LW Matt Calvert on injured reserve. He is expected to miss three to four weeks after sustaining an upper-body injury Saturday. … The Blue Jackets activated D Gabriel Carlsson off injured reserve Sunday and placed RW Cam Atkinson on IR retroactive to Oct. 28. Atkinson is day to day with a lower-body injury. … Columbus scratched D Scott Harrington.
Blue Jackets: Host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Rangers: Host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.
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