Rangers head into Columbus for a Metro battle

Ryan McDonagh will not have to contend with Dubinsky tonight (NHL.CBJ)

Ryan McDonagh will not have to contend with Dubinsky tonight (NHL.CBJ)

The Rangers come into Saturday’s contest versus the Columbus Blue Jackets off a great win over the Blues. Of course, that was tempered by the loss of key offensive defenseman Dan Boyle to a broken hand.

Michael Kostka was recalled in response to the injury, but practice indicates Matt Hunwick will line up with John Moore on the 3rd pairing. Also, Tanner Glass is considered a game time decision which means Kevin Hayes may get the nod tonight. Ryan Malone is also a possibility, but AV is still trying to see where he fits.

If Hayes were to go, he was taking line rushes in place of JT Miller, who was moved to  Glass’ spot on Moore’s line. Hayes and Duclair should be an interesting combo.

GAME 2: New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets, Nationwide Arena
Saturday at 7:00 PM

Goalie Matchup: Cam Talbot vs. Sergei Bobrovsky

Derick Brassard, NYR (Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Derick Brassard, NYR (Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Rangers to Watch: Cam Talbot, because he needs to get off to a good start to prove last year was no fluke. Ryan McDonagh, because he needs to step up offensively with Dan Boyle down. He needs to find a new level on the PP. Derick Brassard, because the Bluehirts need more from him and his line. 2 shots on goal for that unit won’t cut it.



Eye on the Enemy:
 Ryan Johansen, because there is no secret who their best player is. He’s not in game shape after missing all of camp, so there is no excuse not to minimize his impact. James Wisniewski, had 4 shots versus Buffalo – which is a big deal considering how hard he shoots it. When CBJ is on the man advantage, he’s the one to watch. Artem Anisimov, with Dubinsky out, Anisimov will be looked at to step up offensively.

FullTilt Forecast: I have legit concern over Cam Talbot in net. He’s making his first start of the year after looking “ok” in the preseason and it comes at a bad time. Tonight is Columbus’ home opener and the place will be rocking.

If the Rangers hope to win, another big performance from the top line is needed. The Blueshirts could easily win this by 2-3 goals if Talbot is on, but that’s where the forecast comes in. Jackets edge the Rangers 4-3.

As always, I hope I’m wrong when I predict a loss.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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