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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

enough."

"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

score."

"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."

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