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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, February 24th (All times eastern)

Columbus Blue Jackets (23-32-6) at New York Rangers (29-26-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two teams in need of a victory will get together this evening at Madison Square Garden, where the New York Rangers continue a homestand against the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets.

New York attempts to rebound from a disappointing sweep at the hands of rival New Jersey in a home-and-home series earlier this week. After edging the Rangers by a 2-1 count Tuesday at the Meadowlands, the Devils came away with a 3-2 shootout win at the Garden on Thursday.

Jamie Langenbrunner had the game-winner in the fourth round and Zach Parise also scored for New Jersey in the deciding phase. Marcel Hossa and Petr Prucha had goals for the Rangers, while Michael Nylander netted the team's lone marker during the shootout.

The back-to-back losses have dropped New York five points behind Carolina in the race for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

It was the third straight game for the Rangers without their leading goal- scorer Brendan Shanahan, who is out with a concussion suffered last Saturday against Philadelphia.

The Rangers hope to gain ground on their current six-game homestand, which began with Thursday's defeat. New York has struggled at MSG this year, however, compiling a 12-13-4 record as the host up to this point.

Columbus is all but out of the playoff picture in the West and brings a three- game losing streak into tonight's tilt. The Central Division cellar-dwellers are coming off an ugly 4-0 home setback to Edmonton on Thursday.

Fredrik Norrena made 24 saves for the Blue Jackets, who fell to 2-7-1 over their last 10 outings.

With the NHL trade deadline just days away, Columbus began an expected player purge when it shipped veteran right wing Anson Carter to Carolina Friday in exchange for a 2008 fifth-round draft pick. The 32-year-old Carter had tallied 10 goals and 17 assists in 54 games with the Blue Jackets this season.

This will be Columbus' first visit to Madison Square Garden since a 5-3 loss to the Rangers on December 3, 2002. The Jackets have never beaten New York on the road in two lifetime meetings, with the teams playing to a 2-2 tie at MSG during the 2001-02 campaign.

Columbus has won two straight and four of its last five overall against the Rangers, however.

02/24 10:31:43 ET

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