Yesterday morning, after his team’s brisk pregame skate at Madison Square Garden, Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards was asked how a game last night against the New York Rangers might play out. Richards, as has become his custom given the youth and unpredictability of his team, said he was unable to do so. “I’m not sure which direction this game is going to go,” he said. Even his wildest stab would have missed the mark. Matt Calvert, Artem Anisimov and David Savard scored in the first 11:10 of the first period to chase Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and the Jackets hung on for a wild 4-2 victory. “We need to start every game like that,” Anisimov said. “And the way we finished, we need to do that, too.” No. 3 goalie Mike McKenna, recalled from minor-league Springfield last week, played the final two periods for the Jackets after Curtis McElhinney aggravated a lower-body injury that Richards said he suffered during the morning skate. “He did go down awkwardly in the practice,” Richards said. “But he felt fine for the rest of the day. But going down and getting up, over and over, it seemed to reaggravate it.” Richards said the preliminary diagnosis was that McElhinney’s injury was “nothing serious.” “But he’ll get checked out by our doctors (today),” he said. McKenna saved 17 of 18 shots in his first NHL game since December 2010, helping the Jackets win in Manhattan for the first time since 2007. “(McKenna) was fantastic,” said Jackets center Ryan Johansen, who iced the victory with a breakaway goal with 1:32 remaining. “I don’t know the exact number of games he’s played in the NHL, but I know playing in Madison Square Garden isn’t an easy task. For him to step in like that and do the job he did was very impressive. I’m proud of him.” Rangers center Dominic Moore cut the Jackets’ lead to 3-1 at 14:08 of the first. Defenseman Dan Girardi scored with four skaters a side to make it 3-2 at 11:07 of the third. But the Jackets (14-15-3) held on long enough for Johansen to score his team-leading 11th goal, slipping a wrist shot from the inside edge of the right circle through the five-hole of Rangers backup Cam Talbot.
Blue Jackets 4, Rangers 2: Rare victory in New York
Columbus Dispatch | Dec 13