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Rangers Vs. Predators: Rangers Finally Snap Losing Skid, Defeat Predators 4-2

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NHL: Nashville Predators at New York Rangers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Following two consecutive losses in extra time, the New York Rangers finally got back into the win column this afternoon with a 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. One of the Rangers biggest issues thus far has been their lackluster starts, which have led to early goals against more often than not. For the first time in what seems like an eternity, the Rangers finally had the energetic start that they so desperately needed and it resulted in two goals.

Jesper Fast opened the scoring for the Rangers this afternoon after an impressive drive to the net by Kevin Hayes. Juuse Saros was able to turn away the initial shot by Hayes, but lost the puck in the crease and Jesper Fast immediately slammed home the rebound. Fast’s goal late in the first period gave the Rangers something to feel good about and they found the net again a little over four minutes later.

Chris Kreider also registered his first goal of the season by finishing off a J.T. Miller centering feed from behind the goal line. Miller did an excellent job of creating the initial turnover by going hard into the corner, and finished it off with an excellent feed out to Kreider who was all alone. At the end of 20 minutes, the Rangers held a two goal advantage and were tied 9-9 in shots with the Predators.

While the Rangers looked to build on their first period momentum, the Predators had other ideas and quickly pulled back within a goal early in the second period. Mattias Ekholm wound up from just inside the circles and absolutely wired a blistering slap shot past Henrik Lundqvist to make it a 2-1 game.

Unlike in previous games, the Rangers didn’t rollover following the early goal which eventually led to Kevin Hayes third goal of the season. Hayes absolutely burned Matt Irwin to the outside and while cutting to the net, shoveled the puck over Saros’ shoulder to regain the two goal advantage.

The Predators found a way to respond about three minutes later, though, after catching a lucky bounce off of Brady Skjei in front of the net. Filip Forsberg’s shot from the corner ticked off of Skjei’s elbow in front of the net and tricked over the goal line before Henrik Lundqvist had a chance to grab it.

Heading into the third period with a one goal lead, we were all praying that the Rangers didn’t shell but that clearly didn’t end up being the case. Henrik Lundqvist had to stand tall in the crease with the Rangers electing to dump the puck out with zero offensive pressure. Lundqvist was up to the task though and turned away nine total shots in the third period, with all of them coming off of high quality chances.

With the Rangers clinging to dear life in the closing minutes, Jimmy Vesey finally alleviated the pressure by securing the empty netter. That goal was also Vesey’s first of the season, so hopefully the afternoon of first’s will get guys like Vesey, Kreider and Fast going offensively.

While the third period was nearly a catastrophe, the Rangers desperately needed to find a win and they did that this afternoon. They bent at times, but they certainly didn’t break which is an encouraging sign moving forward. The Rangers will look to build on this afternoon’s victory and parlay it into another solid effort this coming Monday against the San Jose Sharks.