The Columbus Blue Jackets continue to have their issues in dwelling Blue Jackets.
Columbus was in action on Saturday and failed to add to its NHL-low total of 40 points with a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Chicago. Derick Brassard scored the first goal of the contest for the Blue Jackets before the Blackhawks took the game over.
Former Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 20 shots. He was visibly upset afterwards and was seen yelling at interim head coach Todd Richards.
"It's never a good thing," said Mason about getting pulled. "Under the circumstances, though, we'll see about it [Sunday]."
Mason could still get the start tonight for the Blue Jackets, who had won four of six prior to yesterday's loss. Their other netminder, Curtis Sanford, is on injured reserve due to a strained back and Allen York allowed two goals on eight shots in relief of Mason.
"It was the goal and it was leading up to that point," said Richards about pulling Mason. "His game wasn't where it should be the past three games and we have to play again [Sunday], so all of those thoughts led into the decision."
When asked if Mason will start Sunday's road game in New York against the Rangers Richards said, "I haven't spoken to him yet but that's the plan right now."
Complicating matters is the potential loss of defenseman James Wisniewski, who suffered a strained left groin versus Chicago.
Columbus and star forward Rick Nash, the recent subject of trade rumors, are likely to be taking their shots against Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who is tops in the NHL with seven shutouts and is among the league leaders with a 1.77 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.
Lundqvist should be fresh for this game after backup Martin Biron got the start in Thursday's 4-2 setback to the Blackhawks. Head coach John Tortorella stuck with Biron despite him allowing four first-period goals and he ended with 18 saves.
Marc Staal and Carl Hagelin both scored for the Rangers, who had won four straight and eight of 10 coming in.
"Just a bunch of miscues we had early on and they were able to bury all of their chances," said Staal.
New York still owns an eight-point edge over Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for first place in the Atlantic Division and trails Detroit by three points for the most in the NHL.
The Rangers have lost four of their past six to the Blue Jackets, including a 3-1 defeat in Columbus in the lone meeting last year. New York was a 7-4 winner when the clubs last met at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 23, 2009 and the Blue Jackets are 1-2-0 with a tie in four trips to New York.