BY: DAVID KOLB
NEW YORK RANGERS (21-10-1) @ NASHVILLE PREDATORS (13-12-4)
Fresh off a 2-0 win in Dallas on Thursday, the Rangers take on the Predators tonight in Nashville in the final game of their two-game road trip. The Blueshirts have won five out of their last seven contests and are 4-1-0 in their last five games. The Predators have struggled lately and have lost three out of their last four tilts.
The Rangers have has posted a shutout in three of the last four games and have only allowed three goals over the last five games. With excellent goaltending and a lineup that is getting healthy, the Blueshirts are hoping to regain a firm hold on the Eastern Conference’s top spot heading towards the end of 2016.
Rick Nash returned to the lineup Thursday after missing four games with a groin injury and scored the game-winning goal to help the Rangers beat the Stars. The six-time All-Star has 12 goals in 28 games this season and has had prior success against the Predators in his career. In 57 games against Nashville, the first pick overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft has 25 goals and 16 assists for 41 points.
JOHANSEN PACING PREDS
Predators center Ryan Johansen registered an assist Thursday in Nashville’s 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild. The Preds’ leading scorer has picked up five points (one goal, four assists) in his past five games and has six goals and 15 assists for 21 points, including 14 on home ice (15 games).
A VESEY FIRST
Selected by the Predators 66th overall in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Jimmy Vesey faces the team that drafted him for the first time in his young career. Vesey spurned the Music City and decided to sign as a free agent with the Blueshirts this past offseason.