The Rangers aren’t having the season they envisioned but they’re still dangerous. The Nashville Predators host New York in an intradivisional battle.
The Metro division has been a bit of a mess this season, with certain teams taking nose dives and others continuing their excellence. One of those nose divers is the New York Rangers, who sit in second to last place in the Metro division with 55 points. The good news for them is that they’re currently a win away from the second Wild Card spot and four points behind third in the division. It might be a bit of an understatement to say that things are tight. Meanwhile, in the Central division, the Nashville Predators are coming off of their best game ever.
This might not be a huge game in the grand scheme of things, but the two points matter. Plus there are some familiar faces making their return to Nashville.
Old faces and soon to be long gone ones
Cody McLeod and Jimmy Vesey will most likely receive different reactions from the crowd. McLeod will probably be met with an indifferent, if not a positive greeting, while Vesey will get a constant boo.
The Rangers are otherwise a bit injured, as Chris Kreider and Kevin Shattenkirk are out with no timetable to return. Things got worse on Thursday when Pavel Buchnevich went down with an upper-body injury, it isn’t known if he’ll be able to play. This doesn’t really matter for the Rangers because Buchnevich is kept to fourth line minutes and doesn’t play too much. So hooray for Alain Vigneault?
Mats Zuccarello is the heart and soul of the Rangers, he currently sits with 37 points so far. His playmaking ability is so fun to watch, and he’ll make the Predators pay if they go on the penalty kill.
Rick Nash is most likely on his way out as a Ranger, and this season hasn’t been his best, but never underestimate his ability to take over a game. The aging power-forward will use all of his physical gifts to make even the best defensemen look silly. You never know what you’re going to get from him, but it could be a world-beater. Nash currently has only 25 points though.
Another potential piece of trade bait is Michael Grabner. The speedy winger currently has 26 points, with 21 of them being goals. That kind of goal scoring ability is heavily desired in today’s NHL. He’ll likely fetch the Rangers a pretty prospect or draft pick. My advice to all the Predators would be, never let him get the inside step on you. He’s pretty much Connor McDavid without the hands.
The Nashville Predators
The Predators played their best game by far against the Kings, and so I don’t expect the line-up to change at all. Here’s the projected line-up.
The starting goalie hasn’t been announced but it looks like Pekka Rinne will get the start.
Keys to the game
- Literally do the exact same thing you did against LA
- Don’t take dumb penalties: A team with Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, Ryan McDonagh and more can kill you on the penalty kill.
- Pepper the king: The Rangers have a porous defense. Get to the high danger areas and make Lundqvist earn his paycheck.
Where to watch
Watch the game on Fox Sports Tennessee at 7 PM. 102.5 The Game will also be airing the game.