Hey, Nashville, who you gonna call? Cam Talbot.
The New York Rangers picked up their second straight win this evening by defeating the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-0. Cam Talbot recorded his second consecutive shutout with the victory, and has continued to impress since his recall. As for the Rangers as a whole, they played a solid, solid defensive game and really gave Nashville very little to work with. They were also very active in the offensive zone tonight, which Alain Vigneault is probably very happy about.
Also, how about Ryan McDonagh? He played easily his most complete game tonight, chipped in offensively, and gave Nashville fits in the defensive end. With McDonagh being all over Team USA's radar, he picked a pretty good night to put on a clinic in front of David Poile and company.
Tonight's first period was a bit of a snoozer, but the Rangers didn't allowed very much in their own end, and when they did, Cam Talbot was there to bail them out. Talbot wound up making two huge saves for the Rangers late in the first, one coming from Paul Gaustad right at the top of his crease. Somehow Talbot was able to get a pad over, and kept this game scoreless heading into the intermission.
The second period was where the Rangers went to work offensively, and cranked up the pressure on the puck. A lot of the momentum was generated from the fourth line of Brian Boyle, Derek Dorsett, and Dominic Moore. They put on a clinic in the offensive zone, and pinned the Predators in there zone for several minutes at a time. It's been a while since the Rangers depth has started to kick in, so having a legit fourth line is nice to see.
Finally at the 13:13 mark of the second period, the Rangers were able to break the scoreless tie. Ryan McDonagh wound up losing the Predators defensemen down low, and eventually worked his way to the front of the net. After some nice work behind the net by Chris Kreider, and Mats Zuccarello, the puck made it's way out to Dan Girardi.
Girardi laid into it, and McDonagh wound up getting a piece of the puck as it sailed in on net. With the goal, McDonagh picked up his fifth of the season, and has continued to show his true offensive potential. Also, not to mention, the goal also was created by McDonagh's earlier pinch that kept the puck in the offensive zone.
The Rangers continued to abuse the Predators defensively, and eventually converted on a neutral zone turnover. Derek Stepan made a great play swiping the puck away from Viktor Stalberg, and created a 2-on-1 rush with Mats Zuccarello. For the last few games, Zuccarello has been making some questionable decisions with the puck, but he quieted all of the haters tonight with his assist on Stepan's goal. Zuccarello made a great head fake to freeze up Marek Mazanec, and slid the puck over the Stepan with a wide open net.
At this point, I'm sure if Zuccarello put that puck on anyone's stick (yes, even Del Zotto's), they'd have a year and a day to pick the corner. Just an overall great play by Stepan in the neutral zone, and an even better pass by Zuccarello. From that point on, the Rangers were able to shut down the Predators late surges, and went on to win their second straight game on this five game road trip.
As per the usual, the Rangers will likely practice at some point tomorrow before they head into Tampa for a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.