The New York Rangers should take the two points tonight, tuck them in their back pocket and run far, far away with them. Throughout two periods tonight, the Rangers were badly outplayed by the Nashville Predators, but thanks to some luck, and Henrik Lundqvist, they were able to keep the puck out of their net entirely. Much of Nashville's success in the first period came on the power play, after the Rangers took eight penalty minutes in the final 10 minutes of the period.
After 20 minutes, the Predators held a pretty hefty 14-3 advantage in shots, but they could not find a way to solve Henrik Lundqvist. That continued for the remainder of the game, and early in the second period, the Rangers caught the Predators napping with a counterattack. Rick Nash led a 4-on-1 rush back the other way, and instead of the passing the puck, he lugged it right into the offensive zone all by himself. Nash finished it off with a scorching wrist shot and beat Pekka Rinne over the shoulder to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
Following the goal, the Predators continued to pressure the Rangers in the offensive zone, but once again, Lundqvist was up to the task. The Rangers defensemen also started blocking a ton of shots, which helped eased the tension on Lundqvist, but the Predators held a 25-7 shot advantage after 40 minutes. Clearly the Rangers had no business being up 1-0, let alone being in the game, but they found a way to to hang on.
However, in the third period, the Rangers finally turned the tides and gave the Predators a run for their money early in the third period. As a result, Derek Stepan was able to double up the Rangers lead after tapping home a beautiful feed from Marc Staal. About six minutes later, Kevin Hayes closed out the scoring with a seeing-eye wrist shot from the high slot, and made 3-0 with a power play goal.
The Predators started venting their frustration late in the game, and understandably so, but the officials weren't having any of it. Lundqvist made one final save in the closing seconds, and secured his second shutout of the season with a 3-0 victory. As mentioned previously, the Rangers had no business winning this game after the first two periods, but they somehow found a way to lock it up in the third period.
I think Mike's post-game tweet sums this game up perfectly:
Like being totally fine after swimming through a shark tank with an open wound. Celebrate it? Yeah. Repeat it? No. https://t.co/I01EvgFU1k— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) November 24, 2015
The Rangers will be back in action on Wednesday when they meet up with the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden. Hopefully their start will be a little bit better than it was tonight.