Zherdev burns former team as Rangers top Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) — Nikolai Zherdev recorded a goal and
two assists against his former team as the New York Rangers
recorded a 3-1 triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

Defenseman Daniel Girardi notched a goal and an assist and
Brandon Dubinsky also tallied for the Rangers, who saw coach Tom
Renney leave the game in the second period after being hit in
the face by Blue Jackets defenseman Rostislav Klesla’s stick
while behind the bench.

“I feel pretty good,” Renney said after the game. “I wasn’t
very good there for a while, but I feel good, ready to go. I
was able to watch from the medical room. I was watching it.
The guys did a good job.”

Markus Naslund registered two assists and Henrik Lundqvist made
25 saves as New York recorded its first victory in Columbus
since February 12, 2001.

Jakub Voracek scored his team’s lone goal and Pascal Leclaire
turned aside 28 shots for the Blue Jackets, who went 0-for-6 on
the power play.

The seventh overall pick of the 2007 draft, Voracek opened the
scoring with 6:18 remaining in the first period, collecting his
own rebound and slipping the puck just inside the right goalpost
for his third goal of the season.

“I think it was a bit lucky,” Voracek said. “I just shot the
puck, went to the net and the rebound was right there, and I put
it in.”

From there, the Blue Jackets were unable to find any consistency
and had difficulty sustaining offensive pressure.

“We had a good first period,” Columbus captain Rick Nash said.
“Then the second and third periods, we just weren’t good

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“We really played a sound game in the first period,” Blue
Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Then we shot ourselves in
the foot in the second period by taking those two offensive-zone
penalties. That gave them the energy and impact to come back in
the game. We created a lot of scoring chances early in the
third period, but we couldn’t finish one off.”

After Girardi leveled the contest 8:33 into the second, Dubinsky
gave the Rangers a 2-1 advantage just over 3 1/2 minutes later
with a controversial tally.

Zherdev wristed a centering feed into the slot, and the puck
caromed off Dubinsky’s right skate and past Leclaire. Officials
ruled Dubinsky did not use a distinctive kicking motion and
credited him with his fourth goal of the campaign.

“The puck came in from (Zherdev) and just went off my skate and
in,” Dubinsky said. “It may have appeared that I kicked it, but
that is not my call. They looked at it and counted the goal,
and that’s all that matters.”

The slim margin held up until Zherdev backhanded a shot past
Leclaire with 6:12 remaining in the third period.

“It’s good the team won,” Zherdev said. “I was just happy to

“When I came to the rink earlier in the afternoon, he was there
and ready,” Renney said of Zherdev. “He was looking at the ice
surface by himself in solitude. I thought he was really zooming
in on this one. He did a good job, he played well.”