NY Rangers (36-18-1) at Columbus (35-14-5)
When: Monday, February 13th 2017
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: NBC Sports
The New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets are two of three teams (Pittsburgh) battling for second place in the Metropolitan Division behind front-runner Washington and will meet Monday night in Columbus. The Blue Jackets have struggled to light the lamp, but managed to win two of their last three contests, scoring just five goals in that stretch. Columbus has earned points in four of its six games since a 6-4 win over the Rangers on January 31st, including a 2-1 triumph over Detroit on Saturday. All-Star Cam Atkinson has recorded three goals in the last five games to push his team-leading total to 27 – matching the career high he set last season. Former Ranger Brandon Dubinsky has two goals and five assists during a strong five-game stretch. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who entered Sunday tied for the league lead with 30 wins, is 4-8-2 lifetime against the Rangers. The Blue Jackets won two of the previous three meetings this season, scoring 14 goals. This will be game No. 3 in a nice seven-game homestand for the Jackets, who will also face the Penguins on Friday night.
The Rangers have won five straight games to pull within two points of Columbus and Pittsburgh (75) for second behind Washington, which has a league-best 84 points. Henrik Lundqvist is a big reason why New York is playing so well, winning all five games – including the 400th of his career Saturday against Colorado, and has posted a .946 save percentage during the stretch. Lundqvist’s last rough performance came against the Blue Jackets on January 31st, when he allowed three goals on 16 shots. J.T. Miller also has made his presence known, recording two goals and eight assists during his six-game point streak. He leads the team with 45 points as he is one of four players with at least 40 – a group that includes Kevin Hayes, who has a goal and four assists in three games since returning from injured reserve. Michael Grabner has scored five goals in his last six games to increase his team-best total to 26 and has a +26 rating that puts him among the league leaders. Defenseman Dan Girardi (ankle) missed the last two games and is questionable for Monday.
This is a tough one to call. Lundqvist has been great lately, but the Jackets scorched him just a few weeks ago. Columbus seems to be playing better of late after a bit of a rough stretch to start the month. I’m going to go with the home team tonight.
Pick: Blue Jackets -125