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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET22:00 BRT, February 14, 2020
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio  Attendance: 18,888

Rangers face Jackets, eye season-high fourth straight win

New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets

  1. The Blue Jackets are 6-1-1 in their last eight meetings with the Rangers after splitting the first two matchups this season. Columbus had a four-game home point streak against New York snapped with a loss on December 5, 2019. Five of the last six meetings have been decided by one goal or gone to OT.
  2. Columbus had held opponents to three goals or fewer in a franchise-record 25 consecutive games before Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss to Buffalo. It was Columbus' 17th one-goal loss this season, second most in the NHL (Montreal, 18) and its league-high 18th overtime game.
  3. The Rangers rallied for a 4-3 shootout win at Minnesota on Thursday and have limited opponents to six goals during a four-game road winning streak. They last won five in a row away from home February 23-March 7, 2017.
  4. The Blue Jackets have at least one point in 20 straight games (14-0-6) against Eastern Conference opponents since a 4-1 loss at Florida on December 7 and are tied for the league lead (Tampa Bay) with 52 points against East foes this season.
  5. Tony DeAngelo's 43 points are already tied for the fourth most by a Rangers defenseman since 2001-02, a list led by Brian Leetch (55 points in 2001-02). DeAngelo has 13 goals this season, one behind Ryan McDonagh (2013-14) for the most by a Rangers defenseman in that span.
  6. Elvis Merzlikins ranks third in the league (minimum 5 games) since January 1, 2020 in both GAA (1.61) and save percentage (.948) and leads in shutouts (5). Roman Cechmanek (10, 2000-01), Steve Mason (10, 2008-09), Pekka Rinne (7, 2008-09) and Evgeni Nabokov (6, 2000-01) are the only rookie goalies since 1995-96 with more shutouts in a season than Merzlikins.

The New York Rangers are on their second three-game winning streak of the season, and well aware of its timing.

The Rangers attempt to complete an unbeaten three-game road trip and get their season-high fourth straight win Friday night when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.

New York is a season-high six games over .500 with five games to go before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. The Rangers are 11th in the Eastern Conference, and their 62 points are nine points behind Columbus and Philadelphia, who are tied with 71 points for the final playoff spot entering Friday.

"We're aware of our situation," New York's Ryan Strome told reporters. "It's 10 days to the trade deadline as of tomorrow, and obviously, the playoffs looming and where we are in the standings -- and we're playing a team we're chasing tomorrow, so it's a big game for us."

The Rangers are also five in back of ninth-place Carolina, which hosts New Jersey on Friday, and one ahead of Montreal, which travels to Pittsburgh.

New York's previous three-game winning streak ran from Nov. 23-27. The current streak started with consecutive 4-1 wins at Los Angeles and at home against Winnipeg, and then on Thursday, the Rangers overcame a two-goal deficit and claimed a 4-3 shootout victory in Minnesota.

Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin played significant roles in the Rangers also winning for the fourth time in five games and improving to 10-5 in their last 15 games. Zibanejad and Panarin both scored in the shootout after scoring in regulation.

Zibanejad scored the game-tying goal and has six goals in his last eight contests. Panarin scored in the first period, assisted on Zibanejad's goal and has 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in his last 14 contests.

Besides occupying one of the wild-card spots, the Blue Jackets are in the mix for second or third place in the Metropolitan Division. Columbus is one point behind the New York Islanders for third and three behind second-place Pittsburgh.

The Blue Jackets are 9-1-3 in their last 13 games in a run that began Jan. 11, and they're coming off consecutive overtime losses, most recently a 4-3 defeat in Buffalo on Thursday.

The Blue Jackets blew a 2-0 lead but gained a point when Markus Nutivaara scored the tying goal with 1:13 left.

"I thought we stopped putting (our foot) on the gas there," Blue Jackets forward Nathan Gerbe said. "I thought we sat back a little bit too much and gave them a little space and didn't control pucks the way we wanted to. Big goal at the end to tie it up, but unfortunately it's a tough loss."

Despite getting two points from a pair of overtime losses, Columbus is 0-1-2 in its last three, its longest skid since getting outscored 13-5 in a four-game span Nov. 30-Dec. 7.

The Blue Jackets were without two key contributors as defenseman Sean Jones will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury while Cam Atkinson is out two to three weeks due to a lower-body injury.

The teams have played a pair of one-goal games, with the road team winning both in regulation. Panarin scored the game-winner on Dec. 5, while Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice on Jan. 19, including the game-winning goal with 27 seconds left.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 14, 2020

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