COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Rick Nash scored twice in a late 3-minute span – once on a quirky shot and the other on a highlight-reel move – to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
Nash, who set the Blue Jackets record by playing in his 544th game with the team, had his fourth multigoal game of the season. He also assisted on Antoine Vermette’s power-play goal.
The Blue Jackets had been 0-6 at home in weekend games, outscored 28-10 in those contests.
Steve Mason stopped 32 shots for Columbus, which had lost six of seven.
Marc Staal had the lone goal for the Rangers, who got 20 saves from Henrik Lundqvist. They came in with the NHL’s best road record (11-4).
With the game tied 1-1 and just over 4 minutes remaining, Nash carried the puck through the neutral zone and over the blue line before losing it under pressure. From the deep right corner, he spun and fired a shot at the net. The puck glanced off the left skate of a surprised Lundqvist and into the net.
The Rangers pulled Lundqvist for an extra attacker with just over a minute left. He was halfway to the bench when Nash poked the puck free from a defenseman at center ice. Lundqvist scrambled back to the crease just before Nash avoided a sliding defender as he swooped in. Nash faked the forehand, with Lundqvist’s momentum taking him to the edge of the crease, then the big forward pulled the puck back and pushed it in with his outstretched stick.
After a scoreless first period, both teams broke through with power-play goals in the second.
Ruslan Fedotenko controlled the puck at the right back boards and tossed a seeing-eye pass to Staal who was crashing the net from the left wing. Staal one-timed it, barely having to move his stick to lift the puck past Mason.
Both goalies made big stops over the next few minutes before the Blue Jackets evened things after Erik Christensen went off for slashing.
R.J. Umberger took a pass from Nash in the right corner and skated to the right dot before wristing a shot that Vermette redirected in for his eighth goal.
It was just the sixth power-play goal surrendered by the Rangers in 16 games.
The Blue Jackets were next to last in the NHL with a man advantage, converting only 10.3 percent of their opportunities.
NOTES: F Tom Sestito made his season debut for Blue Jackets after trading places with former No. 1 draft pick Nikita Filatov, who was sent to AHL Springfield on Friday. … The Rangers had won seven of 10 overall and five of six on the road. They had won four straight away games. … Nash broke David Vyborny’s mark for games played with the Blue Jackets. Vyborny was on the team from 2000-08. … Columbus is off to its best start in franchise history (16-11-1)..
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