The New York Rangers have gone south for a brief road trip, but they’re hoping they’ll be trending up when they come home on Sunday for a rematch with New Jersey. Before that, they’ll have to handle the Nashville Predators tonight at Bridgestone Arena (8:00, MSG+).
The Rangers (21-10-1) are coming off a trip to Texas, taking down the Dallas Stars in a 2-0 shutout on Thursday night. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves despite missing 5 minutes of game time when Cody Eakin took him down behind the net, putting Antti Raanta in during that time and setting up the first ever shared shutout in Rangers history. Rick Nash scored a shorthanded goal that provided any offense the Rangers would need, though Mats Zuccarello put in an empty netter later.
The Predators (13-12-4) have slightly righted their ship after a rough start, but fell 5-2 to Minnesota on Thursday. Ryan Ellis tied things up at one apiece in the first, but the Predators gave up two further goals before the frame let out. Mike Fisher cut the lead in half in the second, but two more Wild goals sealed Nashville’s fate.
This will be the first of two meetings between the Rangers and Predators this season, with the two teams splitting their set last year, each winning on their home ice. The Rangers won 3-0 at Madison Square Garden last year, with Rick Nash, Derek Stepan and Kevin Hayes scoring and Lunqvist pitching the shutout.
This will also be the first ever visit to Nashville for Jimmy Vesey, who was drafted by the Predators in the third round of the 2012 draft. Vesey never played for Nashville, opting instead to go to Harvard University.