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Columbus sharp in 5-0 victory

10/11/2003

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- It was a bright beginning for the Columbus
Blue Jackets -- and another awful night for the New York Rangers.

David Vyborny and Darryl Sydor each had a goal and an assist,
and Marc Denis posted his 10th career shutout as the Blue Jackets
beat the Rangers 5-0 Saturday night.

"That was as good a performance as I've seen us play, to be
quite honest, in three years," Columbus coach and general manager
Doug MacLean said. "It was a real outstanding performance by 20
guys."

Offseason acquisitions Trevor Letowski and Sydor each scored
their first goals for Columbus. Espen Knutsen and Andrew Cassels
added two assists apiece.

Sydor was selected as the game's No. 1 star.

"I'd like to see who's picking it," he said with a grin. "I'd
like to take him out to dinner."

Denis wasn't seriously tested, stopping 25 shots.

"We came out flying tonight," Denis said. "We got off on top
and we never looked back."

Lasse Pirjeta and Rick Nash added goals for the Blue Jackets,
who lost 2-1 in their opener at Atlanta on Thursday night.

A capacity crowd of 18,136 gave the Blue Jackets a standing
ovation for the final minute of play.

The victory tied franchise records for widest margin of victory
and most lopsided shutout win. Columbus also tied a record for most
power-play attempts with 11, scoring on three.

The Rangers were on the their heels from the outset and were
frustrated the rest of the way. They were often called for
penalties for attacking a player far away from the puck.

"I have trouble finding anybody accountable," coach Glen
Sather said. "It was a team effort."

Letowski, signed as a free agent after playing last year with
Vancouver, scored at the 3:04 mark of the first. Duvie Westcott's
slap shot from the right point was deflected by Letowski at the
edge of the circle past a surprised Jussi Markkanen.

MacLean was angry that Letowski broke his little finger and will
be lost for four to six weeks following a hit by New York
defenseman Boris Mironov.

Columbus had 10 of the first 11 shots on goal, applying heavy
pressure less than three minutes later when Knutsen, Rostislav
Klesla and Vyborny all had shots from in close. Vyborny got the
goal, chipping the puck over a defenseman on a power play at the
5:56 mark.

The Rangers had faced just 19 shots in Friday night's
season-opening 5-3 loss at Minnesota but the Blue Jackets had 17
shots in the first period and 36 for the game.

"We certainly have to play better than we have the last two
games," Sather said. "We just couldn't make it past the trap.
There were guys standing around wondering where they should go."

Knutsen also set up Pirjeta's shot from the high slot for a
power-play goal midway through the second period. Knutsen dug the
puck off the left boards and slid a perfect pass to Pirjeta, whose
shot went high over Markkanen's blocker.

The Blue Jackets needed less than three minutes to score again.
Andrew Cassels sprawled on the ice to tip a loose puck away from
the Rangers' Dale Purinton. Nash was alone in the crease and jammed
it into the net just as he was hit from behind by Darius
Kasparaitis.

"We were down 4-0 and guys were getting frustrated,"
Kasparaitis said. "Guys were trying to do something good and
sometimes you overdo it. We have to put these two games behind
us."

Sydor banged in a rebound off his own shot early in the third
period. The veteran defenseman was picked up during the offseason
in a deal with Dallas.

Game notes
Columbus was 20-14-4-3 at Nationwide Arena last year. ...
It was the final road game this month for the Rangers, who don't
play away from Madison Square Garden until Nov. 1 at Montreal. They
play 11 of their first 15 games on home ice. ... Before the game,
Columbus owner John H. McConnell promised the capacity crowd that
"we're going to do better this year." ... The Blue Jackets
activated franchise scoring leader Geoff Sanderson off the injured
reserve list before the game and sent Sean Pronger and Anders
Eriksson to Syracuse of the AHL.