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Rangers in Big Win Over Blue Jackets, Head to New Jersey

The New York Rangers defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night 3-1. The two teams have a number of familiar faces making this matchup an unexpected yet intense rivalry.

The win on Friday night by the Rangers was emotional and filled with slugfests between the two teams as they claw and scratch in their attempt to qualify for the postseason.

Rich Nash, in his return to play in Columbus, went scoreless in the game, but he provided ample amounts of action including engaging Sergei Bobrovsky the goaltender for the Blue Jackets in a scuffle.

Nash then dropped his gloves to go toe to toe with Columbus’ Matt Calvert in the beginning of period three in what might be his biggest bout on the ice since becoming a Ranger.

Derick Brassard put in the go-ahead goal during the third period and Anton Stralman dished out two assists. Both are former Blue Jackets now with Nash in New York.

The Rangers won for the second time in a row and leapfrogged Columbus in the Metropolitan Division to take third place.

Nearly the moment the puck first dropped to start the first period sparks started flying. That carried over into a tough, hard hitting scuffle filled second period. The period ended with a 5 on 5 fracas, when Nash ran into Bobrovsky in net while attempting to score. The score was waived off due to incidental interference with the goaltender.

Following the play, Nash’s stick was swatted aside by Bobrovsky, which upset Nash who delivered a quick crosscheck to the throat of Bobrovsky as players from both teams joined in the fray.

The Rangers were frustrated during the second period and that emotional outburst was brought on by that frustration. The Rangers could not get the puck by Bobrovsky during the period even though they had 12 shots on net.

New York had to play with only five defensemen due to John Moore sitting out the third. The defenseman was rocked hard by a huge hit from Blake Comeau the former Islander, during the first period.

Moore returned to the ice following the hit, but did not come back after the break between the second and third. Raphael Diaz took Moore’s spot in the rotation during the final period.

Diaz was acquired by the Rangers from Vancouver on the trade deadline. Diaz has played for three teams this season thus far.

The Rangers will have no time to rest or reflect on their 3-1 victory as they head to their most hostile of all places to play, when the battle the New Jersey Devils their bitter rivals from the other side of the Hudson River in a huge divisional battle.

The Devils earned an emotional overtime win 4-3 on Thursday over the Minnesota Wild. That game featured the first return to New Jersey of Zach Parise, the former captain of the Devils, since he signed a July 2012 contract as a free agent.

The Devils are listed as having just a 21% chance of qualifying for the postseason, but hope to keep that hope alive by beating the Rangers on Saturday.

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