The New York Rangers had a strong outing this evening against the Nashville Predators but a miss five-minute major call and a puck on the goal line made the difference in this game. New York out-shot the Predators 41-24 on the official boxscore but they just couldn’t find puck luck to beat Jussi Saros.
Rocco Grimaldi (4) - Roman Josi (20) & Ryan Ellis (18) - 10:36 1st Period
Following a great shift in the offensive zone by the Rangers, Nashville was able to intercept a pass at the blue line and transitioned up the ice. Rocco Grimaldi entered the zone with the puck, muscled his way around a defender and put a shot towards the net. Unfortunately for Alexandar Georgiev, the puck deflected off of Brady Skjei right ankle and slipped through his five-hole.
Chris Kreider (8) - Mika Zibanejad (11) - 11:10 1st Period
Despite giving up a goal off of an unfortunate bounce, the Rangers regrouped and tied the game just 34 seconds later courtesy of Chris Kreider. The entire goal started with the great defensive read by Mika Zibanejad as he knocked Dante Fabbro off of the puck and broke in 2-on-2 with Kreider. Zibanejad tapped the puck over to Kreider who had more speed coming into the zone and he beat Saros on the ice to tie the game up at 1-1.
Roman Josi (8) - Dan Hamhuis (5) & Kyle Turris (8) - 10:16 2nd Period
The Rangers were all over the Predators up until this point in the game but another turnover in the offensive zone led to a threatening rush back the other way by Nashville. Roman Josi was able to walk into the Rangers’ zone uncontested at the blue line, shot through Adam Fox’s legs and beat Alexandar Georgiev over the glove. Just prior to Josi’s tie-breaking goal, Artemiy Panarin’s shot on goal deflected off of the post and stopped just before crossing the goal line.
Mattias Ekholm (5) - Nick Bonino (8) - 15:23 2nd Period
Nashville was able to score again just over five minutes later and doubled up their lead after another opportunistic clearing attempt off of the boards. Nick Bonino sent a puck off of the glass just as Mattias Ekhlom was exiting the penalty box and he was able to slip in behind Adam Fox. Ekholm collected the loose puck on the breakaway and snapped a hard shot just under the crossbar and gave Nashville a massive 3-1 lead in this game.
Artemiy Panarin (20) - Mika Zibanejad (12) & Adam Fox (12) - 17:18 3rd Period
With the Rangers pressuring late in the game, Artemi Panarin finally broke through for the Rangers with an absolute snipe from the high slot. Mika Zibanejad sold a fake shot down in the right corner and immediately found Panarin cutting through the middle of the ice. Panarin was able to corral the puck in traffic and snap a wrist shot over Jussi Saros to bring New York back within a goal.
Roman Josi (9) ENG - Unassisted - 18:11 3rd Period
Ryan Ellis (5) ENG - Auston Watson - 19:55 3rd Period
Right off of the ensuing faceoff, Nashville was able to ice the game with an empty-net goal from Roman Josi. With the goaltender pulled, the Rangers weren’t able to gain the zone cleanly and didn’t put pressure on the puck in time. Josi was able to clear the puck rather uncontested and put Nashville up 4-2. Ryan Ellis added one final marker on the scoreboard with five seconds remaining in regulation.
Overall, the Rangers played a very strong game in terms of controlling the action and getting the better of the chances. If not for Panarin’s shot stopping on the goal line, the Rangers probably have a two-goal lead in the second period and beyond. It was a series of unfortunate bounces that ended up in Nashville’s favor, and sometimes that’s just how the game goes. Following tonight’s loss on home ice, the Rangers will have an extended three day break before returning to action on Friday night against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.