PREDATORS (13-14-3) at RANGERS (15-15-1)
TV: NBCSN, MSG 2
Last 10: Nashville 4-5-1; New York 5-4-1
Season series: This is the second and final game of the regular season between these cross-conference clubs. The New York Rangers won, 2-0, at the Nashville Predators on Nov. 23 as Rangers' rookie backup goaltender Cam Talbot earned his second straight shutout in as many starts. The Predators are 5-3-0 with a tie throughout their history at Madison Square Garden.
Big story: The Predators and Rangers have struggled to find consistency and both will try to break their respective cold streaks Tuesday. New York is set to play the third game of a franchise record nine-game homestand when Nashville visits, but the Original Six team is 1-5-1 in its past seven games at MSG, including two straight losses to start the stretch at home. Nashville has lost its past five games (0-4-1) but are winners of four of its past five road games.
Both teams have had difficulty scoring, as the Rangers and Predators are tied with an average of 2.23 goals per game.
Predators: The last time Nashville scored the first goal of a game was in a 4-0 win at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 27, so it will try to turn it around against a Rangers team that has given up an average of 4.33 goals in their past three home games. The Predators wrap up their quick two-game road trip in New York and will seek to bounce back from a 5-2 loss at the Washington Capitals on Saturday.
"It's making it very difficult," Predators coach Barry Trotz said of the losing streak. "You can't just look at the big picture, better to just look at the next game. Win the next game and you've got to work at it a game at a time. ... We just don't have the finish we need right now."
Rangers: Playing the bulk of December at home appeared to be the boost the Rangers needed to start their move up the Eastern Conference standings, but being on the wrong side of a combined 8-4 score in the first two games of the homestand has coach Alain Vigneault and his players looking for answers.
Vigneault held a closed-door meeting following a 4-1 loss to the Capitals on Sunday, when the Rangers surrendered the first four goals of the game.
"What is said in here, stays in here," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan told BlueshirtsUnited. "Everybody in here knows we need to be better and have to be better."
Who's Hot: Defenseman Roman Josi has a goal and two assists in his past three games for the Predators. ... For the Rangers, forward Brad Richards had a six-game point streak (three goals, four assists) snapped Sunday.
|Back to top|