W2W4: A Garden Reunion As Rangers Host Blue Jackets

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Players To Watch

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Rangers-Rick Nash: The greatest player in the history of the Blue Jackets, the face of the franchise for the nine years he played there, will play against his former club for the first time since that fateful day of July 23, 2012 when the Rangers acquired him from Columbus in a seven-player deal. Nash missed his first chance to play the Blue Jackets, and return to Columbus as a Ranger, on November 7th because he was still suffering from a concussion. Now he is healthy again and playing extremely well for the Rangers, having scored six goals in 12 games since returning from his head injury. Nash's most recent goal--Tuesday against Nashville--was also the 600th point of his NHL career. All but 53 of those points have come as a Blue Jacket, and he is Columbus' all time leader in goals, power play goals, and points. The first overall pick by Columbus in the 2002 NHL Draft, Nash is riding a streak of nine consecutive seasons of 20 or more goals. Twice in that span he has scored 40 or more, and seven times it's been 30 or more. Last year, his first on Broadway, Nash led the Rangers with 21 goals in 44 games played. This season he is currenlty tied for fourth on the team with six goals--though he has played in only 15 games---and he has 11 points, so far. He has scored at least one goal against every team in the NHL, except, of course, the Blue Jackets.

 

Blue Jackets-Brandon Dubinsky: There is no question that Brandon Dubinsky is very much looking forward to this "homecoming" at The Garden where he was a favorite amongst the Blueshirts Faithful for the first five years of his NHL career. A passionate, hard-nosed, skilled player, Dubinsky was the main player acquired from New York in the deal which sent Nash to the Rangers. A two-time 20-goal scorer with the Blueshirts, Dubinsky struggled mightily in 2011-12, his last season in New York, but is putting together a strong 2013-14 campaign with the Blue Jackets after his first year in Columbus was marred by injury. Dubinsky is second on the team with 20 points (6-14-20) in 25 games, and he is coming off a career-high four-point outing against the Devils Tuesday night. An emotional player, who now is an alternate captain in Columbus, Dubinsky will be jacked up to face his former team at The Garden Thursday, and the Rangers will have to be well aware they'll need to match his intensity.