The New York Rangers defensive issues crept back into their game once again this evening, and they were defeated 5-3 by the Nashville Predators. Despite a late game comeback attempt, the Rangers were absolutely miserable in their own end and allowed the Predators to essentially walk all over them in the defensive zone. Henrik Lundqvist got the yank yet again, but really none of this can be pinned on him. The top defensemen in front of him aren't doing nearly enough to make his life easier, and they are leaving him out to dry.
In the opening moments of this game, the Predators controlled a majority of the play and wound up out-shooting the Rangers to the tune of 15-6 through 20 minutes. As a result, the Predators were able to strike late in the first period on a power play opportunity, and gave the Predators a 1-0 lead. The goal came courtesy of Filip Forsberg, who was left all alone at the left face-off dot, and he smoked one past Henrik Lundqvist.
The Rangers were able to find an answer early in the second period after Jesper Fast set up in front of the net, and deflected Dan Girardi's point shot. Pekka Rinne was unable to adjust after the puck changed direction, and the Rangers were able to pull even at 1-1. From that point on, though, it all went down hill for the Rangers. A few moments later, James Neal put the Predators back on top with an absolute snipe from the high slot.
It came just after the Rangers had strung together a few strong shifts in the offensive zone, and the Predators came back the other way on a odd-man rush. The Predators would eventually add three more goals in the third period, which gave them a 5-1 lead halfway through the third period. It looked as if the Rangers were officially mailing this one in after going down by four, but, they wound up clawing back.
Rick Nash got things started after catching an outlet pass from Pekka Rinne, and slamming the puck home on the empty net. Then three minutes later, J.T. Miller caught a beautiful pass from Derek Stepan, and shoveled the puck past Rinne from the left side of the crease. The Rangers looked to be putting together a late-game push, but that was eventually shut down by the Predators and they went on to win the game by a final score of 5-3.
The Rangers will have a day to correct their glaring mistakes, before they meet up with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday evening.