Rapid Reaction: Blue Jackets 4, Rangers 2

December, 12, 2013
12/12/13
9:46
PM ET
NEW YORK -- As if losing to backup goaltenders Philipp Grubauer and Carter Hutton wasn’t bad enough, the Rangers couldn’t get the best of third-string netminder Mike McKenna, either. Though the Blueshirts rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to pull within a goal during the third period, McKenna held the wayward Rangers at bay in place of starter Curtis McElhinney, who left the game after the first period with a lower-body injury to knock off New York 4-2 at Madison Square Garden.

Longtime Blue Jacket Rick Nash was held off the scoresheet in his first game against his old club since being traded to New York two summers ago, and the Rangers' downward spiral continued Thursday night as the team dropped its fourth straight game.

With New York buzzing and desperately trying to tie the game, Ryan Johansen added an insurance goal with less than two minutes to play to seal the win, the Blue Jackets’ fourth victory in the last five games.

Henrik Lundqvist didn’t last long Thursday night. He was promptly yanked after surrendering three goals on 13 shots.

Man down: The Blue Jackets continued down the depth chart in goal when McKenna replaced McElhinney to begin the second period. Already without 2013 Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, who is on injured reserve with a groin strain, McElhinney left the game with a lower-body injury after turning away 15-of-16 shots faced during the first period of play. McKenna made his first NHL appearance since the 2010-11 season.

Early hole: It took all of 38 seconds for the Rangers to fall behind Thursday night as Matt Calvert scored the game’s first goal in transition to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead. The Rangers were back on their heels again when ex-Ranger Artem Anisimov scored off an odd-man rush at 8:46, and not even three minutes later Lundqvist was pulled after surrendering his third goal on 13 shots. Cam Talbot replaced him in net for the remainder of the game.

Missing in action: The Rangers' list of injuries keeps on growing. Already without Marc Staal (concussion) and captain Ryan Callahan (knee), the Rangers were also without young pivot Derick Brassard, who sat out (try not to laugh here) with a “sore posterior.” Brassard tested his injury during the morning skit but did not feel healthy enough to play. Though he will likely return soon, Callahan’s situation is more dire. The 28-year-old forward is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

Big night: Dylan McIlrath, recalled Wednesday from the AHL, made his NHL debut Thursday night. The 21-year-old defenseman, a former first-round pick (10th overall, 2010), was paired with John Moore.
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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