New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Calvert, Artem Anisimov and David Savard each had goals during a dominant first period that carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-2 victory over the sputtering New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Ryan Johansen added a late insurance marker and Mike McKenna stopped 17-of-18 in a strong relief effort of Curtis McElhinney to help the Blue Jackets post their fourth win in five outings and send the Rangers to a fourth straight loss, all have which come at the head of a franchise-record nine-game residency.
McElhinney turned aside 15-of-16 chances before departing after the first period due to a lower-body injury.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist had an early exit as well, pulled by head coach Alain Vigneault after 11:10 of action when letting up three goals on 13 shots.
Dominic Moore and Dan Girardi each scored for New York, with Cam Talbot saving 13-of-14 shots upon taking over for Lundqvist.
"It's tough," Rangers forward Brad Richards said of his team's struggles. "It seems like everything is going the wrong way."
The Blue Jackets dictated the action right from the get-go, scoring on their initial shift and recording the game's first six shots while eventually racing out to a 3-0 lead.
Calvert quickly put Columbus ahead with his team on a 3-on-2 rush, skating past New York defenseman Anton Stralman before rifling a high riser past Lundqvist's glove hand just 38 seconds in.
Anisimov, one of three players acquired from the Rangers in the blockbuster trade that landed sniper Rick Nash in New York in July of 2012, made it a 2-0 game at the 8:46 mark by knocking in a Blake Comeau feed while camped out at the right side of the Rangers' net.
Lundqvist's night was over less than 2 1/2 minutes afterward, when a long wrist shot by Savard deflected off New York's Michael Del Zotto and found its way through.
"The guys were geared up," Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards remarked. "They were focused and energized and it was a great start."
The Rangers were able to trim the deficit later in the period. McElhinney kicked away an attempt from Richards, but Moore was perfectly positioned to backhand the rebound into an open right side one second after a New York power play had expired.
New York put together a sharper second period, outshooting the Blue Jackets 11-6 for the frame, but McKenna was up to the challenge and Columbus maintained its 3-1 advantage into the third.
"He came in in a tough spot and did a great job," Richards said of McKenna. "The guys in front of him did a great job."
Talbot was able to keep the Rangers in it with several key saves as well, and the Blueshirts pulled within a goal when Girardi beat McKenna to the glove side with 8:53 left to play after taking in a pinpoint pass from Mats Zuccarello with the teams skating 4-on-4.
Johansen thwarted any comeback hopes, though, by winning a puck in the neutral zone and starting a breakaway he finished with a shot that trickled through Talbot's pads with just 1:32 remaining.