(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets haven't let being eliminated from the playoff race ruin a good thing. On Monday, they'll try to add yet another win to a franchise-record streak when they visit the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The Blue Jackets' nine-game winning streak has come too late to change the club's postseason fate, but it is a good sign for next season when the young team will regroup to take another run at the playoffs.
One factor in Columbus' excellent play of late is the team's health. The Jackets were saddled with injuries to key players from the outset of 2014-15, but lately they have shown how dangerous they can be when they are closer to full strength.
The Blue Jackets played spoiler on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, rallying for a 5-3 home win. It marked the second straight loss for the Pens, who are still battling for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Nick Foligno's first career hat trick catapulted Columbus to the come-from- behind decision over the Penguins. Foligno accounted for two of four straight Columbus goals that erased a 2-0 deficit deep into the second period, then sealed the historic result with an empty-netter in the final minute.
"It's special. Amazing, actually," Foligno said of his feat. "I have (Brandon Dubinsky) to thank for all of them."
The club's ninth straight win snapped a tie for the club record of eight, which originally was set from Jan. 6-23, 2014. Columbus set the mark in familiar fashion, as the team has trailed in 11 of its last 12 victories.
Dubinsky assisted on all three of Foligno's markers to aid the Jackets' latest comeback, while Matt Calvert and Scott Hartnell also scored in support of Sergei Bobrovsky's 33 saves.
"The way it's going, we should pull our goaltender the first five minutes, give them a couple of goals and then play," Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards joked.
Columbus also is in the midst of a club-record road winning streak, having won eight straight as the guest. The Jackets own a 22-15-2 mark away from home.
New York enters this contest having already clinched the Metropolitan Division title, but it is still chasing the top seed in the East as well as the NHL's best record. The Rangers lead Montreal by one point for the conference lead and are tied with Anaheim for the most points in the league with 107.
The Blueshirts won their third straight game in Saturday's rout of the visiting New Jersey Devils. Henrik Lundqvist's 35 saves anchored the 6-1 win, which saw New York score three times in the first period.
Lundqvist has played in four games since returning from a vascular injury and is 3-1-0 in those contests. Saturday's game was his first at home since Feb. 2.
"It was a lot of fun to be back playing here," said Lundqvist. "It's been a couple months and I was really excited to play in front of our fans here. To get that support, too, means a lot."
The Rangers scored the game's first six goals before Jacob Josefson ended Lundqvist's shutout bid with 3:30 left in the third period.
Rick Nash's career-best 42nd goal of the season was followed by tallies from Keith Yandle and Dominic Moore during the opening session. Nash potted 41 goals with Columbus in 2003-04, his second season in the NHL
The win was the 50th of the season for the Rangers. It marks the fourth time the club has reached the 50-win mark. With four games remaining, New York is two away from matching the club record for most wins in a season (52 -- 1993-94).
The Rangers will play the Devils again on Tuesday, when they visit Prudential Center. New York then host Ottawa on Thursday before capping the regular season Saturday against Washington.
Lundqvist is expected to start tonight, but with the Rangers playing on consecutive days tonight and tomorrow, backup goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to give Lundqvist a rest on Tuesday. Talbot, of course, did a tremendous job in the starting role while Lundqvist missed nearly two months of action from early-February to late- March.
New York has won three of the last four meetings against Columbus and is 3-1-1 in the past five encounters at MSG.