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Rangers Go For Fourth Straight Against Predators

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The Rangers go for their fourth straight win Thursday night when the Nashville Predators visit Madison Square Garden.

New York is coming off a 4-1 victory Tuesday night against the Anaheim Ducks thanks in large part to a season-high 43 saves from Henrik Lundqvist. Michael Grabner had a pair of goals while Mats Zuccarello and Oscar Lindberg chipped in with a goal apiece.

Who will be in net for the Rangers Thursday is still up in the air following the team's day off on Wednesday. If Lundqvist gets the call, he'd bring a 6-4-0 record with two shutouts in 10 career games against the Predators.

Antti Raanta - who hasn't started since Jan. 14 - is 1-2 in four career games against Nashville.

Tuesday saw the return of Kevin Hayes after the forward missed five games with a lower-body injury. With Hayes' return, the Rangers are 100 percent healthy for the first time all season.

Nashville has been one of the hotter teams in the Western Conference as of late, going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, including a win over Vancouver Tuesday night. The hot streak has helped the Predators leap frog St. Louis for third in the competitive Central Division.

Ryan Johansen leads the club with 30 assists and 39 points in 53 games this season, with fellow Swedes Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg right behind with 35 and 34 points, respectively. James Neal leads the team with 17 goals in 44 games.

Former Canadien P.K. Subban has 18 points in 37 games in his first season with the Predators after last summer's blockbuster trade for Shea Weber. 

Nashville has been one of the NHL's better defensive teams this season, allowing just 2.53 goals per game, which is ninth best in the League. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is having one of his best season in years, going 21-14-6 with a 2.30 GAA and a .923 SV% with two shutouts.

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