The Nashville Predators took on the New York Rangers in the Big Apple Monday night.
The energy and excitement from this afternoon’s NHL Trade Deadline was carried onto the ice at the world famous Madison Square Garden.
After about five minutes of some fast paced back-and-forth hockey the Rangers were able to get on the board first. Marc Staal scored his fifth goal of the year when he buried a pass from the Ranger’s newly re signed forward, Mats Zuccarello.
A tough start for the Pradators, going down 1-0 against a team that wins over 78% of their games when scoring first, ranking them 5th in the NHL. Luckily, Nashville has the league’s 2nd best winning percentage in games their opponent scores first.
With 7:08 remaining in the first period, Rangers’ Zuccarello was called for high-sticking against Captain Weber – giving the Predators their first power play of the game. Unfortunately, Nashville failed to register a shot on net during the power play.
As the first period came to an end the Rangers held all of the game’s momentum as they dominated the first period while out shooting the predators 12-5. The Predators were lucky to only be down 1-0, thanks to Pekka Rinne making some big time saves.
As the second period began the Predators were looking better but still couldn’t produce many shots or scoring chances. Then 4:14 into the period the Rangers struck again. Chris Kreider came blazing through the slot to redirect a hard pass from Zuccarello and into the net behind Rinne the puck went.
Things wouldn’t get better any time soon as Matt Cullen would be called for an interference penalty just 70-seconds after the Rangers second goal. To make matters worse, Seth Jones took a puck to mouth and blocked a slap-shot on the penalty kill. Fortunately Jones took some minor treatment on the bench and was back in the game without missing a shift. The sacrifice was worth the price paid as the Predators were able to successfully kill of the Rangers power play.
Shortly after the Predators were given a chance to redeem their power play thanks to the Rangers penalty for too many men on the ice with 11:00 remaining in the second period. With a golden opportunity to take back some of the momentum – the Predators again failed to register a shot on goal during their second power play opportunity. They instead gave up three shots while looking even more flustered than their first power play chance.
After some hard nosed, back-and-forth hockey the Predators were finally able to get on the board with 4:36 left to play in the second period. Taylor Beck sent a beautiful behind the back pass from down on his knees right to Cullen who buried the puck past Rangers goaltender, Cam Talbot.
As the buzzer sounded for the end of the 2nd period, the Predators headed to the locker room down 2-1. Nashville was out shot 13-11 but was able to get on the board and show glimpses of hope late in period.
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The third period began with scoring chances for both teams, though the Rangers controlled the puck noticeably more than the Predators. Just under six minutes into the period the Rangers were able to collect a rebound and put it past Rinne. Dominic Moore scored his sixth goal of the year as he buried Dan Girardi’s rebound.
Over the next half-dozen minutes or so the Predators would dominate the Rangers in their zone, generating a handful of scoring chances and repeatedly challenging Talbot in net.
With 4:03 to play, coach Peter Laviolette pulled Rinne for a six on five man advantage. With the man advantage the Predators were able to put a few shots on net and create a couple of quality scoring opportunities.
With 2:22 remaining in the game coach Laviolette used his timeout to gather his team and draw up a strategy to get the Predators offense going.
With 0:44 left in the game, Rick Nash sent a slow moving puck down the ice that found its way into the Predators empty net.
As the horn sounded, the Predators fell to the rangers 4-1. Tonight’s defeat marks the Predators third straight loss; they’re longest losing streak of the season.
The Predators will be back in action tomorrow night against former Predator Jordin Tootoo and the New Jersey Devils at 6 p.m. CST.