Jimmy Vesey knew the boo birds would be coming in his first ever visit to Bridgestone Arena, a visit Nashville Predators fans felt should’ve come far sooner, being that Vesey was the team’s third round pick in 2012, but he turned them down to instead attend Harvard.
However, they got even worse when Vesey’s post-overtime heroics turned out to contribute to the eventual difference in the Rangers lone yearly visit to Tennessee. Vesey scored in a shootout held to break a 1-1 tie, Mats Zuccarello tallied the winner in the next round, while Henrik Lundqvist played the Arnold Schwarzenegger role, neutralizing the Predators in what became a 2-1 Rangers victory.
Making consecutive starts for the first time in two weeks, Lundqvist again brought his top game for the Rangers (22-10-1), especially in the third period when Nashville peppered the Ranger net for 14 shots in the final period of regulation, also holding off a few Predator opportunities in the 3-on-3 overtime period. Lundqvist also had to make a solid save on Ryan Johansen in the first round of the shootout before Vesey’s savvy move, before Craig Smith missed the net on a slap shot in the next to step up Zuccarello‘s winner.
Rick Nash scored again, his 13th of the season, now with two goals in two games since
his return from just over a week long injury related absence. Mike Fisher got the regulation goal for Nashville (13-12-5). The Predators will visit Madison Square Garden on February 9.
With their brief trip down south complete, the Rangers will look to immediately continue their winning streak tomorrow night against the New Jersey Devils at MSG (7:30, MSG).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490