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Rangers aim for fourth straight win against the Predators

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-predators-12-17

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

  • New York Rangers (34-18-1, 69 PTS) vs Nashville Predators (26-19-8, 60 PTS)
  • The Rangers are coming off of a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks, giving them wins in three straight games as well as the first two games of the home stand. Oscar Lindberg, Mats Zuccarello and Michael Grabner all found the back of the net, with Grabner scoring twice. Henrik Lundqvist made 43 saves in the win
  • The Predators also won their last game, a 4-2 home win over the Vancouver Canucks. Viktor Arvidsson, Calle Jarnkrok and Mike Fisher scored the goals for Nashville, with Arvisson scoring twice. Pekka Rinne made 31 saves for his 21st win of the season.
  • The Predators are in third place in the Central Division right now, holding a one point lead over the St. Louis Blues. The LA Kings are just a point out of the wild card spot too, so Nashville has some competition. Points down the stretch will be very important if they want a playoff spot.

THE MATCHUP

  • This is the second of two meetings between the Rangers and the Predators and the only one at MSG. The Rangers won the first game, 2-1, in a shootout back on Dec. 17 with Rick Nash tallying the only regulation goal. Jimmy Vesey scored the game winning shootout goal while Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves as well as stopping both shooters he faced in the shootout.
  • The Rangers have won six of their last nine games against Nashville (6-3-0), including three of the last four games.
  • The Rangers have posted a shutout in three of the last eight games versus Nashville.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

  • Pekka Rinne is having a much better season this year after a disappointing 2015-16 campaign. Rinne is 21-14-6 with a 2.30 GAA and a .921 save percentage along with two shoutouts. He has allowed just three goals in the last three games combined, with one shutout. His resurgence combined with excellent goaltending from backup Juuse Saros (5-3-2, 1.79 GAA, .941 SV%, 1 SO) is a big reason for Nashville currently holding a playoff spot.
  • When the Predators shipped out Seth Jones to the Blue Jackets, they got exactly what they had been lacking in return; a number one center. Ryan Johansen has given the Predators a consistent scoring center who can help out whichever wingers he plays with. So far he leads the team in scoring with 30 assists and 39 points. Since Mike Ribeiro is down in the AHL, Nashville will lean heavily on Johansen to produce.
  • Viktor Arvidsson has been a surprising offensive force for the Predators this season, exploding for a team-high 15 points and also 20 assists in 51 games. His 15 goals are tied with Filip Forsberg and his 35 points put him in second place on the team. Last year he had 16 points in 56 games, so this offensive output is surprising.
  • PK Subban was the big acquisition for the Predators this summer but injuries have set him back and limited his production. Through 37 games played he has 18 points, with seven points (3-4-7) coming on the power play. When at his best, Subban is one of the best offensive defensemen and versatile players in the league.

NEW YORK RANGERS

  • Henrik Lundqvist was the first goalie off of the ice at morning skate, which means he will start again. Since being left out to dry against Dallas, Lundqvist is 6-1-0 with a 1.88 GAA and a .941 save percentage, and was spectacular against Anaheim. Lundqvist is 24-13-1 with a 2.69 GAA and a .910 save percentage. He has a 6-4-0 record with a 1.81 GAA, .939 save percentage, and two shutouts in 10 career games against the Predators.
  • Dan Girardi’s ankle was swollen after last game and it seems like he’ll be unavailable, meaning that Adam Clendening will come back into the lineup.
  • Brady Skjei tallied two assists against the Ducks, giving him four points/assists in his last four games, and a total of 24 points (2-22-24) this season. Skjei is one of five NHL defenseman with at least 19 even strength assists, joining Brent Burns, Duncan Keith, Erik Karlsson, and Viktor Hedman. His offensive skills are very impressive and he continues to blossom into a very solid defenseman.
  • JT Miller was moved back to the wing with Kevin Hayes returning to the lineup, but he still picked up another two assists, giving him seven points/assists in his four game point streak, as well as a team high 42 points (16-26-42). He’s one point from tying his career high set last season. Miller has 10 points (2-8-10) in the last eight games, as well as 20 points (7-13-20) in his last 16 games.
  • Rick Nash enters tonight’s game with a six game goal/point streak against Nashville, with six goals over that span. In 58 career games against them, Nash has 42 points (26-16-42).

The Rangers and the Predators will face off at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on MSG Network.

EXPECTED LINEUP

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

JT Miller-Kevin Hayes-Michael Grabner

Pavel Buchnevich-Matt Puempel-Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh-Nick Holden

Marc Staal-Adam Clendening

Brady Skjei-Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

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Posted on February 9, 2017, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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