Coming off of a pretty disappointing overtime loss on Thursday night, the New York Rangers were in for a real test this evening as they took on the Nashville Predators. Jesper Fast’s return to the lineup proved to be an important one as he registered two goals, including the game-winner early in the third period. Here is tonight’s goal breakdown.
2:42 1st Period - Chris Kreider (20) - Assists: Mika Zibanejad (20) & Kevin Hayes (23)
The Rangers came out of the gates with some serious jump to their game, and they were rewarded with a goal just under three minutes into regulation. Chris Kreider came away with his 20th goal of the season on a deflection just off to the right of Pekka Rinne’s crease. Mika Zibanejad put the puck in a perfect spot which allowed Kreider to deflect enough of the puck to fool Rinne.
8:43 1st Period - Nick Bonino (7) - Assists: Mattias Ekholm (20) & Kevin Fiala (12)
That one-goal lead would be pretty short-lived as the Predators answered right back on their own power play to make it a 1-1 game. Similar to the Rangers’ first goal, Mattias Ekholm’s point shot was deflected in front by Nick Bonino, and the puck slipped in behind Henrik Lunqvist.
3:51 2nd period - Jesper Fast (4) - Assists: Mika Zibanejad (21) & Chris Kreider (9)
Despite giving up the lead in the first period, the Rangers responded at the 3:51 mark of the second period coming off of a goal from Jesper Fast. Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad created the goal with a strong forecheck behind the net, and Zibanejad immediately fired the puck out front to Jesper Fast. Fast was left all alone in front of the net, and slammed home the easy tap-in to give the Rangers their second lead of the night.
4:44 2nd Period - Kevin Fiala (7) - Unassisted
Once again, the Rangers’ lead was cut short just under a minute later with Kevin Fiala converting on a 2-on-1 chance. Unfortunately, the goal came off of a fortunate bounce in the neutral zone that deflected off of the official and past Pavel Buchnevich’s stick. The puck bounced right out to Fiala who carried the puck in and fired it past Henrik Lundqvist to tie up the game at two.
10:35 2nd Period - Nick Bonino (8) - Assists: Craig Smith (9) & Kevin Fiala (13)
A short time later, the Predators added on another goal as a result of Nick Bonino’s great individual effort in front of the net. Bonino was able to corral his own rebound off to the left of the net, and somehow chipped the puck over Henrik Lundqvist while he was falling down. It was clearly a deflating goal for the Rangers and Lundqvist showed his disgust by firing a puck into the corner out of anger.
4:23 3rd Period - Marc Staal (3) - Assists: Jesper Fast (9) & Mika Zibanejad (22)
The Rangers needed to be better in the third period, and they did just that with Marc Staal tying the game early in the third period. This was easily the Rangers prettiest goal of the night with Mika Zibanejad, Jesper Fast and Marc Staal converting on a perfectly executed 3-on-2 rush into the offensive zone. The play finished off with a pass to Marc Staal, who absolutely wired a shot past Pekka Rinne.
7:35 3rd Period - Jesper Fast (5) - Assists: Mika Zibanejad (23) - Chris Kreider (10)
The Rangers kept up their pressure in the offensive zone, and this time around, Jesper Fast gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead at the 7:35 mark. Mika Zibanejad picked up his fourth assist of the night on the goal, as he found Jesper Fast wide open in the high slot for a one-timer. Fast immediately let a snap shot go, and found its way through Pekka Rinne. The fourth goal would hold up as the game-winner for the Rangers, who finally snapped their three game losing streak.
Following tonight’s hard fought victory, the Rangers will have a scheduled off day tomorrow before returning to action on Monday night against the St. Louis Blues.