How far will the Rangers get this season?

Game Day: Rangers End Road Trip Against Struggling The Predators
Henrik Lundqvist is coming off a shutout, and Nashville can't score...

Hank recorded his third shutout of the season last night

Hank recorded his third shutout of the season last night

Rangers @ Predators

Bridgestone Arena, 8:00 p.m.

Rangers record: 13-10-1

Predators record: 9-8-4


The Rangers conclude their three-game Thanksgiving week road trip tonight in Nashville against the Predators, losers of three straight.

The Predators have really struggled to generate offense this season, especially recently with centers Matthew Lombardi and David Legwand out due to injury.  The club is currently ranked 28th in goals per game and 27th on the power play.  Wiley veteran Steve Sullivan leads the team in goals with six, and Patric Hornqvist and Marcel Goc have five apiece.  Cal O’Reilly has four goals and nine assists to lead the team in points, but as always, the Predators are a largely no-name club.  Pekka Rinne, pulled in last night’s 5-2 loss to Minnesota, appears likely to make his ninth consecutive start for Nashville.  Before last night’s effort, Rinne has only given up four goals in his last four stars.  But that’s representative of his season, as Rinne has been up and down all year.  The backbone of Nashville as always is the extremely mobile young defense highlighted by Cody Franson, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.  Suter has missed a lot of games already this year, and Nashville has paid because outside of those three, the defense has holes.  Shane O’Brien and Francis Bouillon were essentially picked up off the scrap heap and have had to play major roles for Nashville.  With Rinne’s inconsistencies and a shallow defense, Nashville’s ranks of 15th in goals against and 19th on the penalty kill aren’t awful.  But the team has to play a nearly flawless game defensively to overcome its anemic offense.

For the Rangers, the story right now starts and ends with a very good bounce back game by Henrik Lundqvist last night who picked up his third shutout of the season.  Hank had been letting in a few too many softies lately, leading to Coach John Tortorella giving Martin Biron some extra playing time.  But Lundqvist’s starting job was obviously never in doubt, and the King got a nice confidence-booster last night.  Tortorella also has been tinkering with lines lately and has been aided by a blossoming Derek Stepan, who is riding a six-game point scoring streak (three goals, four assists).  Stepan has fit in nicely with Marian Gaborik, and the new left-winger last night, Brandon Dubinsky.  While the line of Dubinsky/Artem Anisimov/Ryan Callahan has been very productive this season, Tortorella obviously felt that the trio needed to be spread throughout the lineup to give the team a little more jump.  The Rangers received goals from three different lines last night, so hopefully the trend continues. 

The Blueshirts, labeled a “tired” club by Tortorella, have an ideal matchup for the close of their road trip.  Nashville has struggled mightily, so if the Rangers can put up a single goal or two, they might be able to squeeze out two points by falling back into a defensive shell tonight.  In any case it’s not likely that Nashville will ever be able to put the game out of reach, so the Rangers should be able to keep it close.  Tortorella would probably be satisfied with a third point on the road trip, given his comments about the club, but the Rangers do have a golden opportunity for a second win.

- Michal Rozsival is set to return to the lineup tonight, likely at the expense of Matt Gilroy.

- Old Ranger fan-favorite Petr Prucha was waived by Phoenix on Thanksgiving and assigned to the AHL


Posted by Kevin Baumer | November 27, 2010 at 01:29 pm

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New York Rangers VS Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

  1 2 3 OT F
Rangers 3 0 0 - 3
Blackhawks 1 1 0 - 2

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