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Henrik Lundqvist has injury scare as Rangers fall to Blue Jackets

Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers reacts after surrendering

Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers reacts after surrendering a goal in the second period against the Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Rangers survived an injury scare to Henrik Lundqvist and kept coming at the streaking Blue Jackets Tuesday night, but in the end, Columbus was simply too hot for them to handle.

Columbus, methodically climbing the ladder in the Eastern Conference, got a hat trick from Artemi Panarin — his second career hat trick with the other also coming against the Rangers — and rolled to its ninth straight win, 5-3. With the victory, and with Philadelphia’s shootout loss to Detroit, the Blue Jackets took over third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Markus Nutivaara’s goal at 4:05 of the third period put Columbus up 3-1, but Mika Zibanejad’s fifth goal in three games, on a power play, pulled the Rangers back within 3-2. Panarin scored his second goal with 8:41 remaining to put Columbus up by two goals again.

With 5:02 remaining, Lundqvist sprinted out of his net to clear a loose puck and was run into by a charging Matt Calvert, flipping the goaltender head over heels. He landed on his back and was down for a few minutes, but continued in the game.

In the locker room afterward, Lundqvist spoke to the media as usual and said he was more “surprised’’ than scared he might be hurt. He said he stayed in because he didn’t want rookie backup Alexandar Georgiev to have to step in for him so late in the game.

“I thought both of them [Calvert and Rangers defenseman John Gilmour, who was racing with Calvert to get to the puck] saw me,’’ Lundqvist said. “But I guess not. It hurt pretty much everywhere — my foot, my back, my neck. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.’’

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he didn’t see the play when it happened.

“I just saw it on the replay. That was quite a fall,’’ Vigneault said. “He looked all right after the game. We’ll reassess tomorrow.’’

Shortly after Lundqvist was able to stay in the game, the Rangers got a power play and they pulled the goaltender to give them a two-man advantage. Chris Kreider’s deflection goal cut the deficit to 4-3 at 18:08. But Panarin put the game out of reach by finishing his hat trick into an empty net.

Lundqvist was playing for the first time in 10 days after watching Georgiev start the previous three games. He said he felt sharp and made 26 saves.

Alexander Wennberg opened the scoring when he beat Lundqvist with a long shot through traffic at 13:54 of the first for his eighth goal of the season. Columbus made it 2-0 on Panarin’s first goal of the game at 9:28 of the second, but Kevin Hayes scored a shorthanded goal to get the Rangers on the board at 13:44 of the period to close the gap..

“We battled until the end. There’s no doubt,’’ Vigneault said. “But when a team like that — the way they can defend — gets a lead, it’s an uphill battle.’’

New York Sports