Rangers Look to End Slide Against Red-Hot Preds

The Rangers host the defending Western Conference champion Nashville Predators in a matinee event today at Madison Square Garden at 12:30.

The Blueshirts are inching closer to a victory with back-to-back games where they have fought to come from behind only to ultimately lose in overtime and a shootout. Small steps in the right direction but in the right direction nonetheless.

[Watch Today’s Rangers-Predators Game on MSG and Download Free on MSG GO]

The Rangers continue to struggle early in games and the last outing against the Islanders was no different. Chris Kreider took an offensive zone penalty 1:30 into the match and the Islanders scored on the subsequent power play.

That goal was scored on the third shot that Henrik Lundqvist faced marking the third time this season where he has given up a goal on the third shot. On two other occasions, the opponent has scored on the first shot on the Ranger netminder. We have talked incessantly about the need for better starts, particularly at home. Drawing a penalty and getting a big save early will go a long way towards being in a better position of not having to chase the score.

The Predators, have won four consecutive after dropping their two first games of the season. Netminder Pekka Rinne tossed a 1-0 shutout at the Flyers in their last outing. The shutout boosted Rinne’s save percentage to a sparkling .966% in his last four starts.

A year ago this time the Predators got out of the gates with dismal 3-7-1 record after their first 11 games. So, the Rangers have no further to look than across the ice to know that it is not how you start a season, it is how you finish.

3 Keys top Rangers-Predators

1. Nashville D

They Predators play an aggressive offensive attack game that is driven by a very deep and talented blueline. Let by Roman Josi and P.K. Subban this group leads the Nashville offense and must be paid attention to.

2. K.I.S.S.

To repeat what Ranger defenseman Brendan Smith said yesterday after practice his team needs to “keep it simple, stupid.” His words, not mine but I could not have said it any better.

3. Kreider-Vesey

Both wingers despite the early penalty by Kreider had very strong outing against the Islanders. Neither has scored yet this season but need to find the back of the net sooner than later.

[Watch Today’s Rangers-Predators Game on MSG and Download Free on MSG GO]

Can’t watch the game? Listen in on 98.7 FM ESPN or SIRIUS XM.