Madison Square Garden is the scene of this week’s big Metropolitan Division clash between the New York Rangers and the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, January 31st. The Blue Jackets have been one of the pleasant surprises of the NHL this season as they sit in second place in the division and second in the Eastern Conference with 68 points. The Rangers are bouncing back after a rough patch and sit in fourth place in the division and sixth place in the conference with 63 points. New York is 14-10-1 at home while Columbus is 14-7-3 on the road. Columbus is coming off of a 4-3 road loss to Nashville last Thursday while the Rangers were beaten 2-0 at home by Philadelphia the night before.

Blue Jackets vs Rangers: bet365 NHL Betting Line:

  • Line: New York Rangers at -1.5 at 11/5 with the Columbus Blue Jackets +1.5 at 10/27
  • Total: Over 5.5 goals: 10/13, Under 5.5 goals: 11/10
  • Money Line: Rangers 10/13, Blue Jackets 11/10

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Blue Jackets vs Rangers Betting Trends:

Columbus Blue Jackets:

  • Season record: 32-12-4 straight up, 27-21 against the spread
  • Columbus is 2-6-2 in their last 10 games against the Rangers
  • Columbus is 0-4 on their past four road games with the Rangers
  • Columbus has gone 1-4 ATS in their past five outings
  • Columbus has gone 18-7 in their past 25 contests
  • Columbus has gone 2-5 ATS in their past seven road outings
  • Columbus has gone 10-5 in their past 15 road games
  • Columbus has gone 2-5 on their past seven road trips
  • The total has been over in five of Columbus’ past six road encounters
  • The total has been over in seven of Columbus’ past eight meeting with the Rangers
  • Columbus has gone 1-4 in their past five trips to New York
  • The total has been over in five of Columbus’ past six games in New York

New York Rangers:

  • Season record: 31-17-1 straight up, 26-23 against the spread
  • The Rangers are 8-2 in their past 10 meetings with Columbus
  • The Rangers are 4-0 in their past four home games against Columbus
  • The total has been over in 10 of the Rangers past 15 contests
  • The Rangers have gone 0-5 ATS in their past five home games
  • The Rangers are 1-4 in their past five home outings
  • The total has been under in four of the Rangers past five home games
  • The total has been over in seven of the Rangers’ past eight games against Columbus
  • The Rangers are 4-1 in their past five home encounters with Columbus
  • The total has been over in five of the Rangers’ past six home outings with Columbus

Columbus Blue Jackets – A Closer Look:

Columbus has gone just 5-5 in their past 10 games and coach John Tortorella missed their last game and his All-Star assignment due to personal reasons. The team is four points behind division and conference-leading Washington with a game in hand. Columbus has all of the statistical advantages over the Rangers in this match other than goals per game and penalty discipline. They’re better when it comes to defense, goaltending, penalty killing, the power play and faceoff wins.

Columbus ranks third in the league in goals for at 3.3 per game and are fourth-best defensively at 2.4 goals against. Their power play is the absolute best in the NHL at 24.5 per cent and the club’s penalty killing ranks ninth at 83.2 per cent. They’re not too good on faceoffs though as their 47.6 win percentage is third-worst in the league. The Blue Jackets have had a tough time with the Rangers over the past 10 meetings and need the points if they want to remain in the top three in their division to guarantee a playoff spot.

The Blue Jackets have a relatively healthy squad as Markus Nutivaara is the only questionable player for the game after missing the past five contests with an undisclosed injury. In addition, winger David Clarkson is has returned from the long-term injury reserve list, but it’s unclear when he’ll return to action.

New York Rangers – A Closer Look:

The Rangers have also gone 5-5 over the past 10 games and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist seems to be regaining his form after going through a recent slump. The team is currently in a wildcard playoff position by eight points and is two points behind Pittsburgh and a guaranteed playoff spot. However, the Penguins have a game in hand on them. The loss to the Flyers on Wednesday snapped their winning streak at three.

The Rangers have the second-best offense in the league at 3.3 goals per game and own the 12th-best goals-against average at 2.63. Their power play is ranked 13th at a decent 20.7 per cent and the club’s penalty killing sits at 82.2 per cent which is ranked number 14 in the league. There are just two teams worse on the faceoff in the NHL this season and the Rangers are one of them as they own the NHL’s worst percentage at 47.5

The Rangers have owned Columbus lately with eight wins in their past 10 meetings and this game features the second (NYR) and third highest scoring teams (CBJ) in the league. Injury-wise, winger Kevin Hayes is out for a couple more weeks with a lower body injury. Winger Jesper Fast is out with an upper body injury and he’s questionable for the game. Meanwhile, defenseman Marc Staal is out of action indefinitely with a concussion. On the bright side, goaltender Antti Raanta (10-4-0) is expected to dress even though he’s suffering a lower body injury.

by Ian S. Palmer