The Nashville Predators' trip through the New York City area is off to a solid start. Most of their recent visits to Manhattan have been good, too.
The Predators can follow their 0-3 start to the season by winning a third straight game when they go to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday to face the Rangers.
Nashville (2-3-0) joins Florida as the only NHL teams this season which must play consecutive road games against the three New York City area teams in one visit.
The Predators kicked off the trip with a 2-1 win in a shootout over the Islanders on Monday, two days after notching their first win of the season by beating Phoenix 4-1. Nashville will play its third game in four days when it visits New Jersey on Thursday.
Manhattan has been a pleasant stop for the Predators this decade. They won 4-2 in their most recent visit on Mar. 25, 2004, and have not lost in four games at MSG (three wins, one tie) since Jan. 31, 2000.
Nashville has recorded at least a point 12 times - including nine wins - in 16 all-time road games against the Rangers, Islanders and Devils.
"We're going to be playing in buildings that get a lot of use in (the New York area), where the ice is not going to be as good as we'd like it," Trotz said. "So pucks are going to bounce. Those cute passes, those high-risk passes, they're not going to lie flat. They're going to jump over your stick. You can't do that. You've got to play a real simple north-south type of game."
A key to the Predators' recent turnaround has been Tomas Vokoun, who has allowed a total of two goals in the wins over the Islanders and Phoenix after giving up 13 in his first two starts. He did not allow a goal in Monday's shootout.
"He's starting to get into a flow," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "When Tomas is on, that's what he does for you."
An improved penalty kill also has helped the Predators, who have allowed one goal in their last 11 short-handed situations after surrendering seven power-play goals through their first two games. Plus, they were whistled for just three penalties against the Islanders.
Leading scorer Steve Sullivan scored his first goal since Oct. 7 in regulation on Monday, then added a goal in the shootout.
The Rangers (3-3-0) will face a Western Conference opponent for the first time this season on Wednesday. They were 5-4-1 against the West in 2005-06.
Aaron Ward, Brendan Shanahan, Jason Ward and Martin Straka scored goals as the Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 home win over New Jersey on Monday.
It was the second win in four home games for New York, which was 25-10-6 at MSG last season.
Shanahan's goal was his team-leading seventh of the season. The 20-year veteran has scored a goal in each of his last four games in his first season with the Rangers.
"My scoring is getting a lot of attention but I really go out and concentrate on playing a complete game," Shanahan said. "I get just as much of a rush out of making defensive plays or killing off a penalty. I just feel very involved."
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who has started all but one of his team's six games, made 36 saves Monday as he bounced back after allowing 14 goals over his previous three starts.
"I was a little bit more patient and stayed back when I needed to," Lundqvist said. "It has been a tough week for us and we really wanted to get back to winning. It was just a great effort by the whole team."