Two weeks ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were playing their best hockey of the season and were tied for the top spot in the Western Conference. They’ve won once since.
The Blue Jackets look to end their slump Saturday night when they host a New York Rangers team that blew them out the last time they met.
Columbus was 14-6-0 and tied with Detroit atop the West entering a home-and-home series with the Red Wings on Nov. 26. Losing both matchups started a 1-5-1 stretch that has dropped the Blue Jackets (15-11-1) into last place in the Central Division.
They ended a five-game losing streak with a 3-2 shootout win at home over Dallas on Monday but fell 4-1 in St. Louis on Thursday night.
Columbus went 0 for 8 on the power play and allowed the Blues to go 3 for 3 after they entered the game in an 0-for-22 drought. The Blue Jackets are 3 for 38 with the man advantage over the last seven games, and they’ve allowed opponents to convert on 9 of 17 chances in the last four.
“I thought we played great 5-on-5,” said captain Rick Nash(notes), who played in his 543rd game Thursday with the Blue Jackets to tie David Vyborny’s(notes) team record. “I thought we were all over them. Special teams was the difference, and not burying our chances.”
Columbus now faces New York, which has scored a power-play goal in three of its last four games while killing off 44 of 49 short-handed situations over the past 15.
The Rangers, though, allowed two of those power-play goals Thursday night at Ottawa before scoring three unanswered goals in the third period to come away with a 5-3 win.
New York’s only loss in the last four games was 3-1 at home to the Senators on Sunday.
“It was a really good effort coming back three times,” goaltender Henrik Lundqvist(notes) said. “I think we were just determined to win this one after a tough loss at home where they got the late goal there. It felt really good the way we responded.”
New York (17-12-1) has won seven of 10, going 5-1-0 on the road.
The Rangers have dropped four of six all-time in Columbus, but they easily handled the Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 23, 2009.
Columbus took an early 2-0 lead before New York scored the next seven goals, three in a 5:50 stretch of the first period and four in a 6:35 span of the second en route to a 7-4 win.
Marian Gaborik(notes) provided the spark with two goals and two assists for the Rangers, who won their second straight over Columbus after winning twice in the first eight meetings (2-5-0 with a tie).
Gaborik had two assists Thursday to give him four goals and three assists over the last five games. He has 13 goals and 22 points in 23 contests against Columbus.