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Bobrovsky returns for Blue Jackets in win against Rangers

Courtesy: NHL Public Relation

COLUMBUS — Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves in his return for the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 7-5 win against the New York Rangers at Nationwide Arena on Sunday.

It was Bobrovsky’s first start since he missed one game (Thursday against the Nashville Predators) for what Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said was a failure to meet “certain expectations and values.”

He was the backup to Joonas Korpisalo in a 2-1 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

“We’ll move ahead,” Bobrovsky said. “I’ll get back to work and do my things, try to help this team try to win. This is a strong, strong character team and it’s good to have them.”

Nick Foligno scored two goals, and Cam Atkinsonand Artemi Panarin each had a goal and an assist for Columbus (27-15-3), which has won three straight.

Mats Zuccarello scored two goals, and Alexandar Georgiev made 33 saves for New York (18-20-7), which is 1-6-0 in its past seven games.

“They won every 1-on-1 battle,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “It was unbelievable how every time they went into the corner they came out with the puck. A lack of an ability to be physical and fish for pucks. It looked like we never got out of the D-zone coverage.”

Ryan Strome gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead at 4:34 of the first period, but Panarin scored off a face-off 34 seconds later to tie it 1-1.

The Blue Jackets went 47-for-68 (69 percent) on face-offs.

“It’s just being ready,” Rangers forward Chris Kreider said “It’s something we talk about. It’s a detail we can control. It’s one of the few times there’s really a set play in hockey so we’ve got to do our job.”

Anthony Duclair gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead at 8:55 before Kreider picked up a loose puck in the slot and scored during a 4-on-4 to tie it 2-2 at 17:56.

“Struggles in the game, yeah, but [Bobrovsky] made a couple of huge saves,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said.

Atkinson redirected Zach Werenski‘s point shot at 14:00 of the second period to make it 3-2, and Lukas Sedlak extended the lead to 4-2 at 17:49.

Zuccarello cut it to 4-3 at 18:58 off a face-off win by Mika Zibanejad, but Foligno scored with two seconds left in the period to make it 5-3.

David Savard pushed the lead to 6-3 at 5:29 of the third period off a pass from Panarin from behind the net.

Zuccarello (15:00) and Jimmy Vesey (16:48) pulled the Rangers to within 6-5, but Foligno scored his second of the game at 18:14 to make it 7-5.

“It’s one of those games too many were going in against us, but we found a way to stick with it and get some back for ourselves too,” Foligno said. “It’s a testament to a lot of us. Every line contributed.”

Rick Nash, who retired Friday after 15 NHL seasons because of medical reasons, dropped the ceremonial puck. Nash was selected with the No. 1 pick by the Blue Jackets in the 2002 NHL Draft and is their all-time leader in games played (674), goals (289), assists (258) and points (547). He also played more than five seasons with the Rangers after he was acquired by them in a trade with Columbus on July 23, 2012.

 

They said it

“It’s getting to that point of the season we have to string together some wins and get ourselves back in the hunt.” — Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei

 

“That’s a team (Columbus) that competes hard on pucks. They test your mettle. We failed miserably tonight, miserably. We’ve got zero chance if we’ve got 20 guys in uniform not willing to compete for pucks, get into people and have a little snarl in your game.” — Rangers coach David Quinn

 

“Whenever there’s any issues, you have to resolve it as a team. It’s been good. We’ve found ways for guys to contribute and that’s most important.” — Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson

 

Need to know

Rangers defenseman Fredrik Claesson did not play after sustaining a shoulder injury against the New York Islanders on Saturday. He was replaced by Brendan Smith. … Rangers defenseman Neal Pionk replaced Adam McQuaid in the lineup after missing one game with a lower-body injury. … Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray (illness) returned after missing one game, replacing Dean Kukan. … Dubois had an assist and has 13 has points (three goals, 10 assists) in his past 12 games. … Panarin has four goals in the past three games and 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games. … Werenski played in his 200th NHL game.

 

What’s next

Rangers: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

Blue Jackets: Host the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV)

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