Blue Jackets, Rangers meet on deadline day at MSG

The headline: on Sunday afternoon, the Rangers made news when they acquired forward Eric Staal from the Carolina Hurricanes. In exchange, the Rangers sent their 2016 and 2017 second-round picks and prospect Aleksi Saarela to Carolina.

Staal, the former captain of the Hurricanes, joins his younger brother, defenseman Marc Staal, on a Rangers roster with Stanley Cup aspirations once again.

Now, back to the Rangers-Blue Jackets scouting report: after dropping their first two games of the 2015-16 campaign against the Rangers, the Blue Jackets are looking to get on the board in the season series against one of their division rivals.

The Blue Jackets have made a few additions since last facing the Rangers (way back on opening weekend), including the hiring of head coach John Tortorella and the acquisition of defenseman Seth Jones.

Since facing off in October, the Rangers have continued their strong play and are currently sitting in second position in the Metropolitan Division standings. In their last 10 games, the Rangers are 7-2-1 and are currently riding a modest two-game winning streak.

On Saturday night, the Rangers defeated the Dallas Stars by a 3-2 final at American Airlines Center. Defenseman Kevin Klein scored the game-winning goal with 2:53 remaining in the third period, and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves to help his team seal the victory.

After a shootout win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday afternoon, the Blue Jackets are 6-1-3 in their last 10 games and also riding a two-game winning streak.

It was on Oct. 10 at Madison Square Garden, on the back-end of the back-to-back,  home-and-home series against the New York Rangers, that the Blue Jackets dropped their second game of the 2015-16 season.

Oscar Lindberg opened the scoring at 1:20 of the first period and notched another at 5:12, putting the home team up 2-0 early on. Dominic Moore added on at 5:48 of the frame, and it was an uphill battle from there.

Derick Brassard scored in the final minutes of the second period (19:12 to be exact), making the score 4-0 in favor of the Rangers. In the third period, Derek Stepan scored early at 1:26 of the frame, giving the Rangers a 5-0 lead.

Finally, at 4:35 of the third, Ryan Johansen put the Blue Jackets on the board and Boone Jenner followed with a goal of his own. But it was too little and too late for Columbus in what was as disappointing performance and result.

Derick Brassard is the player to watch. With 22 goals and 24 assists, Brassard is currently tied for team lead with 46 points; Mats Zuccarello (20 goals, 26 assists) is the other Rangers player with 46 points this season.

Blue Jackets fans will remember Brassard well. He was drafted sixth overall by Columbus in the 2006 NHL Draft and spent his first six seasons in the NHL with the Blue Jackets before being traded to New York in 2013.

In his last five games, Brassard has three points (two goals and one assist) and he’s been quite effective on the power play — he’s recorded five power play goals this season, tied with Zuccarello for the Rangers team lead in that regard.

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