Rangers Bucked In Buckeye City By Blue Jackets

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Following their first victory in their previous six game on Saturday, the Rangers headed into Nationwide Arena looking to build on Saturday’s effort at Barclays Center. And while the game saw 12 goals between the two teams, it would be the hosts that skated off the ice with a 7-5 victory, handing the Rangers their sixth loss in their last seven contests.

Ryan Strome – The Rangers drew first blood in this one as he took the Filip Chytil pass and one-timed it behind Sergei Bobrovsky. Strome has been a great asset since Jeff Gorton acquired him for Ryan Spooner back in November, putting up 11 points (6G, 5A) in his early tenure with the Blueshirts.

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Chris Kreider – Though Kreider gets the credit for putting the puck in the net, Boo Nieves made the goal possible. After carrying the puck over the blue line, the puck was knocked off of his stick. However, Nieves stayed with the play and took both Columbus players with him, allowing Kreider to scoop up the loose puck and deposit it into the cage. The goal was Kreider’s team-leading 21st of the season.

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Mats Zuccarello – It’s been a rough season for the diminutive Norwegian forward, as Zuccarello has dealt with injury, a lack of offensive production, and constant trade rumors as he is in the final year of his current contract. Tonight, however, Zuccarello put all that aside and scored two goals for David Quinn’s squad.

The first came off of a clean faceoff win by Mika Zibanejad as Zuccarello took the puck and immediately fired it into the back of the net.

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For an encore, Zuccarello picked up the rebound of Kevin Shattenkirk’s shot behind the goal line and ricocheted the puck off of the out of position Bobrovsky.

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The goals were the sixth and seventh of the season for the 31-year-old forward who, like the rest of Rangerstown, is awaiting the February trade deadline to see the fate of the beloved Rangers winger.

Jimmy Vesey – Just moments after Zuccarello brought the Rangers deficit to just two goals, Jimmy Vesey brought the Blueshirts within just a single goal. After Bobrovsky made a rebound save on Vesey, the puck kicked out to Brendan Smith, who had his shot deflect over to Vesey for an easy goal. The tally was Vesey’s eleventh of the year and he is on his way to have the best offensive season of his career.

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Alex Georgiev – Despite the Belarusian making 33 saves, including 17 in the first period alone, it was not enough to backstop the Rangers to victory. Certainly all seven goals weren’t his fault, and Georgiev did make the saves early, including this one, to keep his team in the game.

But I can say with certainty that Georgiev will want that last Columbus goal back, as the Nick Foligno pass attempt rolled up the stick of Georgiev and into the net.

Next Game: The Rangers return to MSG on Tuesday to host the Carolina Hurricanes. Puck drops at 7!

LETS GO RANGERS!!

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