The Blueshirts are in Nashville where they look to make it three wins in a row away from home ice (8:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

RangersNHL RankingsPredators
6thNHL Standing Rank24th
As of 10/20/2021

Previous Game:

               What a wild game Monday night was when the Blueshirts won in Toronto by the score of 2-1 in overtime. The Rangers goals came from their two leaders on offense Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin. It certainly wasn’t easy as the Maple Leafs dominated play from start to finish including outshooting the Rangers 17-2 in the second period and 41 to 23 throughout the game. Toronto was generating most of the offensive chances but ultimately couldn’t convert. Overtime was fun, nerve-wracking, and chaotic which saw many scoring chances being denied with the goalies standing tall including a save from Shesterkin at the hash marks. Ultimately, Panarin was able to win the game for the Rangers on a quick shot following a faceoff.

               The player of the game was Igor Shesterkin as he was simply marvelous once again (Jacob Trouba gets an honorable mention with a solid defensive performance including a big defensive play on Matthews in overtime). Shesterkin faced a lot of quality chances and passed the test every time. In fact, the only goal he gave up was unlucky as the puck seemed to get stuck in his equipment and defender Patrick Nemeth pushed Toronto forward Michael Bunting into Shesterkin which seemed to push the netminder’s pad and the puck trickled in. It was a weird goal but that was the only way the Russian native was going to be beaten. The 25-year-old was by far the Rangers player of the game.

               “You hate to have to rely on your goaltender that much, especially in that 2nd period. He made some incredible saves to keep it close for us,” said head coach Gerard Gallant. “We stole two points.”

               “If it’s not for him, I don’t want to imagine what would have happened,” Zibanejad said.

               The Blueshirts went into both Montreal and Toronto – two of the most hostile arenas in the NHL and came away with four points. They didn’t play their best hockey but they found ways to win games which are what good teams do. Shesterkin made a combined 71 saves on 73 shots to begin the road trip.


               With two straight wins in Canada, the Blueshirts will travel south to take on the Nashville Predators. The big news for the Rangers is that Ryan Strome remains in the COVID protocol. Strome appears set to miss the game in Nashville. His next chance to play would be in the road trip finale when they travel back north to Canada to take on the Ottawa Senators.

               Kaapo Kakko will also miss the game as he is on the IR. However, Gallant stated that they believe they will have him back right after the seven-day IR stint has concluded or shortly after.

“It’s going to be close,” Gallant said. Gallant would not rule out Monday against Calgary – the first game Kakko will be eligible to play in. The following game is on October 29th which would give the Finland native three extra days to heal up and prepare.

It appears Gallant will shake up the lines as he seeks to find some offense. The Rangers have yet to score three goals in a game on an actual goaltender and he will look to break that skid by stacking the first line. Panarin will move up to join Zibanejad and Chris Kreider as they look to find a rhythm. Alexis Lafreniere will join Filip Chytil and Sammy Blais on the second line to round out the top-six forwards.

Nashville Predators:

               Meanwhile, the Predators will be concluding a four-game homestand as they look to finish it 2-2-0. Nashville may have a below .500 record but it is early into the season and they’ve all been one-goal games. Mikael Granlund leads the Predators in points with four points in three games. Filip Forsberg is also a point-per-game player in the early parts of the season.

               The biggest offseason moves by the Predators involved trading away two key long tenured players. First, they traded away Viktor Arvidsson to the Los Angeles Kings for draft picks. Arvidsson made his debut for Nashville in 2014 and racked up 238 points in 385 games during his time in the Yellow.

               The other big move was trading away defender Ryan Ellis to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchanged for Philippe Myers and Nolan Patrick. Patrick was then immediately flipped to the Vegas Golden Knights for Cody Glass. Ellis had been with the Predators since 2011 and had been a regular top four defenseman and was a reliable two-way defenseman for them.

               Like the Rangers, the strength of Nashville is their netminder Juuse Saros. Saros had a breakout season last year and is off to a very strong start. The Finnish netminder has stopped 76 of 82 shots so far this season which is good for a .927 goals against average. Saros is expected to get the nod in the net.

What to Watch:

               My what to watch for tonight will be the line combinations and more specifically if they will remain intact for the duration of the game. How long will Gallant wait to split up his offensive firepower if they don’t come out hot? If they come out and set the pace and even score a goal could Gallant keep the first line together when Kakko and Strome return? It is also important to monitor the depth forwards as the Rangers will need contributions from other lines to improve the scoring.

Projected Lineup: