Nash, Rangers visit Blue Jackets

( - The Columbus franchise saw Rick Nash score plenty of goals while he was with the Blue Jackets, but even he never went on the kind of streak that Ryan Johansen has been able to put together.

Johansen's club-record point streak, though, hasn't helped the Blue Jackets pick up any wins as of late and the team looks to rebound on Friday night in a visit from Nash and the New York Rangers.

The 22-year-old Johansen leads the Blue Jackets with 24 assists this season while ranking second on the club with 16 goals and 40 points. He has given those totals a big boost over a current 11-game point streak in which he has posted seven goals and six assists.

Johansen picked up a goal on Wednesday versus Montreal to help Columbus to an early lead, but the Canadiens took advantage of ample power-play time to score three times on the man advantage in the third period and hand the Blue Jackets a 3-2 loss.

Kevin Connauton also scored and Sergei Bobrovsky allowed three goals on 31 shots in Columbus' third loss in a row.

"It's penalties. You take three, two of them were in the offensive zone," Columbus head coach Todd Richards said. "It's just really disappointing."

Nick Foligno, who leads the Jackets with 18 goals and 41 points, had an assist to stretch his career-high point streak to eight games in a row (2 goals, 9 assists), but the Blue Jackets have slumped to their longest losing streak since dropping six straight from Nov. 18-29.

Columbus won 12 of its next 15 after that slide.

Now the Blue Jackets will have to deal with Nash, the former cornerstone of the franchise who is currently tied for the NHL lead with 26 goals. He also tops the Rangers with 41 points in 41 games.

Nash has scored three goals in four previous encounters with the Blue Jackets, who traded the unhappy star to the Rangers on July 23, 2012 for Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon and a first-round draft pick.

Friday will mark Nash's third game in Columbus since the trade.

Nash and the rest of the Rangers offense have struggled in getting shut out over consecutive losses. New York had won five straight and 13 of 14 before 3-0 setbacks to New York Islanders and Boston Bruins on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Tuukka Rask made 30 saves for the Bruins last night, while Rangers backup goaltender Cam Talbot allowed three goals on 32 shots.

"We need better puck movement from our defense," Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "We haven't scored a goal in two games. It's tough to win when you don't score."

The Rangers have lost two in a row for the first time since Dec. 1 and the 6 and haven't dropped three straight since an 0-1-2 skid from Nov. 13-17. New York also lost three consecutive games in regulation from Oct. 11-14.

New York did not have center Derek Stepan last night due to an upper-body injury and he may sit out again tonight despite traveling with the team.

Henrik Lundqvist, who was pulled early in the loss to the Islanders, figures to get the start for the Rangers and is 4-3-1 lifetime versus the Blue Jackets with a 2.77 goals against average and .902 save percentage.

Bobrovsky is 3-5-1 versus the Rangers with a 2.70 GAA and a .913 save percentage.

The Blue Jackets have won three of their last four versus the Rangers, including a 5-2 victory at home on Oct. 11 in the first of four meetings. Nash had a goal in that encounter.