How about that Cam Talbot? First he backstops the Rangers to their first win in Montreal since 2009 and their first shutout in Montreal in about 50 years. Then, he comes into Nashville and shuts them out too. When you throw in a third period blanking in Columbus, the “rookie” (he doesn’t qualify as a rookie since he is 27) has a shutout streak of over 140 minutes. I think the exact number is 146:28. That’s impressive.
As for the rest of the team, this game was never really in doubt. The Rangers dominated puck possession all night, and while Marek Maznec was great in net, he was victimized by one defensive breakdown and one turnover. The Rangers did a good job of not letting Nashville get into an offensive groove as well.
On to the goals:
Rangers 1, Preds 0
Ryan McDonagh made a good pinch to keep the offensive zone and get the puck to Chris Kreider behind the net. Kreider moved the puck to Mats Zuccarello at the boards, who hit Dan Girardi at the point for an uncontested shot. While all this was happening, McDonagh circled to the front of the net, where no one tied him up. He had a clear look and deflection on Girardi’s shot.
Rangers 2, Preds 0
Sorry, I couldn’t get a good picture on this goal.
Derek Stepan simply forced a neutral zone turnover, where Zuccarello picked up the loose puck for a 2-on-1 break with Stepan. Zucc made a perfect pass and Stepan had an empty net.
The Rangers had control of the puck possession game from the initial drop of the puck. The Preds eventually climbed close to the Rangers at the end of the first courtesy of a powerplay (remember: the image is FF% for all situations, not just 5v5), but the Rangers just ran away with it in the second and third periods. That seems to be a trend with this team: Weather the early storm, and take control late in the game.
This was, if nothing else, a solid team win. With away games coming up on Monday (Tampa), Wednesday (Florida), and Friday (Boston), the Rangers ability to play well in wins and losses is going to be vital. And that could be one of the more critical things we’ve noticed this year. When the Rangers win, they look good. But even when they lose, they aren’t getting blown away often.