In the first game of a month long string without Henrik Lundqvist, the New York Rangers hung with the Nashville Predators all game long. In the end, they fell 3-2 after a late goal by Mike Ribiero. The Preds had most of the control through the first period, outchancing the Rangers both in quantity and in quality. Cam Talbot –and Kevin Klein– kept the game scoreless in the first, as the Preds had a lot of high quality chances.
Rick Nash gave the Rangers a quick lead in the second, but the Preds came back with two goals in quick succession to close out the second period. Ryan McDonagh tied it early in the third. But it was Ribiero that sealed it for the Preds, as Pekka Rinne shut the door down after the McDonagh goal. The Rangers played very well in this game, but losses happen.
On to the goals:
Save by Klein
This was a solid play by Klein.
Rangers 1, Preds 0
It is not wise to leave Nash this open in front. Martin St. Louis cut low to draw Seth Jones’ attention away from Nash in front, which allowed Derrick Brassard to hit him with the pass. Nash got two whacks at it for the goal.
Preds 1, Rangers 1
The Rangers win the faceoff here, but they don’t actually get control of the puck (which is why it matters more what happens after the faceoff, not the actual draw itself). Calle Jarnkrok got two attempts from the slot, and the rebound eventually got to Roman Josi who ripped it by Talbot.
Preds 2, Rangers 1
Five Rangers on one side, Shea Weber was on the other. Very few goalies stop a Weber slap shot from that range.
Rangers 2, Preds 2
This goal came off a nice cycle by the Rangers, one where McDonagh moved across the blue line to put himself in better position to receive a pass. He got that pass from Mats Zuccarello, and then he made some nice moves on the defender before putting a wrist shot by Rinne. Chris Kreider was in front distracting Rinne, which was a big part of the goal.
Preds 3, Rangers 2
Jones had an easy breakout from his own zone, easily taking the puck around Brassard before dumping the puck to Ribiero at the blue line. Ribiero’s slapper went through Girardi and Talbot, as Ribiero used Girardi and Jones as the screen.
I was having issues with the war-on-ice charts, and I was also in a rush to get out the door for plans at 6pm, so they are not embedded today. You can view them here. As expected, Girardi/McDonagh got the Ribiero/Filip Forsberg line. That left Klein and Marc Staal to deal with the James Neal line. Of course, this was when Alain Vigneault was able to match up his lines. Without the home ice, he had to throw his lines out first.
As for possession/scoring chances, the Preds had the major advantage early, but the Rangers got their game together and put up a great fight. This was actually a good game by both sides, and the Rangers just came out on the losing end. It happens sometimes, especially against a team like Nashville without Lundqvist or Derek Stepan.