Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Rangers
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers fought hard, but eventually fell in overtime at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

  • New York Rangers 3 (15-14-7, 37 pts)
  • Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (22-12-3, 47 pts)
  • NHL, Metro, Final, Box Score
  • Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

The New York Rangers losing streak is now at three after they dropped tonight’s game to the Colombus Blue Jackets 4-3 in overtime. After dropping back-to-back games before heading into the Christmas break, the Rangers were so close to getting back into the win column.

But the team’s struggle to hold leads continued tonight and an opportunity to gain ground on a good team was blown.

Despite players like Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider continuing their hot play, the Rangers failed to escape with a win after a late insurance goal was waved off and a controversial faceoff that went in Columbus’s favor led to a late tie game. Overtime lasted only 31 seconds before Pierre-Luc Dubois ripped the hearts out of the Garden faithful.

The Blue Jackets struck first this game with over 10 minutes left in the first. Hayes coughed up the puck to Cam Atkinson in the neutral zone. Atkinson’s shot went wide but it was then taken by Boone Jenner who dished it to Oliver Bjorkstrand down low, putting it through the five-hole of Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers only put up two shots in the first 14 minutes of play. But the third shot was when they got back in the game. After a Blue Jackets turnover, Hayes led the rush on a two-on-one. Redeeming himself after his first mistake, Hayes showed a lot of patience getting the puck to Jimmy Vesey who buried the pass to tie the game at one.

But the Jackets got the lead back just two minutes later. David Savard beat Lundqvist stick side from the top of the near circle to make it 2-1 Columbus. The score remained that way heading into the second period. Both teams put up 11 shots combined.

A minute 45 seconds into the second, the Rangers capitalized on the first power play of the game. Just seven seconds after Scott Harrington received a boarding penalty, Kreider deflected a Mats Zuccarello shot from the far circle into the net to tie the game at two.

Hayes, who picked up the secondary assist, now has an eight-game point streak, putting up 15 points in those eight games.

With 13 and a half minutes left in the second, the Rangers came close to a lead. After a Brady Skjei shot rebounded in front, Hayes had an opportunity to put the puck in. But the shot bounced off the skate of Zach Werenski in the crease and went under goalie Joonas Korpisalo to preserve the tie.

A few minutes later, the Blue Jackets had sustained pressure that had the Rangers defense gassed. Brendan Smith was stuck on the ice for two minutes and five seconds. Twice, Smith iced the puck this shift, but no harm was done.

With two and a half minutes left in the second, Lundqvist made his best save of the night. After pass deflected to him, Jenner blasted a shot from above the slot. With traffic in front, Lundqvist flashed some leather with the glove, to keep the game tied.

Columbus continued to have their presence felt, but the teams went into the third all even. The teams tied in the shot column too with 17.

Four and a half minutes into the third, Smith took a hooking penalty for Columbus’s first power play of the game. The Blue Jackets gave the Rangers a scare, but solid effort from Hayes and Vesey held off the board to kill the penalty.

The penalty kill gave the Rangers momentum that led to sustained pressure in the Columbus zone. That effort paid off when a Sjkei pass deflected back to Kreider, who launched the shot from the slot stick side on Korpisalo to give the Rangers their first lead of the night. Lundqvist even picked up an assist on the goal for his second of the season.

With two goals tonight, Kreider leads the Rangers with 19. Kreider also has goals in three straight games and five of his last five.

It looked like Rangers grabbed some insurance on a Ryan Strome goal with four and a half minutes left. But the goal was waved offside after a coaches challenge by Jackets coach John Tortorella. This challenge proved to be crucial.

The Rangers struggles to hold leads late reared it’s ugly head again. With two minutes and twenty seconds left, Werenski scored off the faceoff to tie the game at three. The Blueshirts had complaints about the linesman who dropped the puck. Replay of the faceoff showed that the puck went off the shaft of Jenner’s stick before hitting the ice.

For the second game in a row, the Rangers were heading to overtime. This game was the Rangers 13th overtime game of the season and sixth time in nine games they need extra time. The Rangers first game against Columbus in November also went into overtime, where the Rangers won in the shootout, 5-4. Tonight is a different story.

The overtime lasted only 31 seconds. Dubois made a power move on Hayes and got just enough of the puck passed Lundqvist to give the Blue Jackets the victory.

The Rangers losing streak is now at three and the team has only one win in their last seven games. The Rangers next game will be on Saturday when they take on the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

WPU Graduate. Die-hard Ranger fan. Pain loving Jet fan. Loves to make comic, movie and TV references. Born and raised in Central Jersey. Twitter @JohnnyLonny82 Instagram @JackKnife82