Opening Faceoff: Rangers vs. Predators

The Rangers continued their sloppy play on Thursday when they fell to the New York Islanders 4-3 in a shootout, the Rangers have now lost five consecutive games. Anders Lee scored two minutes and forty seconds into the game. Later in the period, David Desharnais notched his second goal of the season on a deflection to tie it but then the Islanders added two straight goals scored by Brock Nelson and Matthew Barzal to pump the lead to 3-1. Early in the third period Mats Zuccarello scored, Brenden Smith would go on to have a goal waived off, and with just under six minutes to play, Kevin Hayes scored on a sneaky shot to tie the game. After a scoreless 3-on3 overtime, the game went to a shootout and the Islanders won when Desharnais could not finish his attempt.

The Predators are 4-2-1 and currently have a five game point streak that they are looking to extend. Nashville is heading into the Ranger tilt with confidence as they have won four of their last five matches; most recently beating the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 1-0.

Keys to a Rangers victory:

1. This may sound cliché but the Rangers have to finish their attempts. On Thursday against the Islanders, the Rangers had 41 shots on goal against Jaroslav Halak, an inconsistent goaltender, who always seems to rise to the occasion when facing the Rangers. It is nice to finish on a flashy play, but the Rangers should get bodies to Juuse Saros’ crease and look for rebounds and deflections.

2. The Rangers’ special teams has to improve. With the addition of Kevin Shattenkirk, the Rangers finally have a power play quarterback. The Rangers rank ninth in the NHL in power play conversion. The Rangers really have to improve their penalty kill. They rank 28th in the NHL with a percentage of 73.3. The Rangers are also having trouble stopping their opponents at even strength.

Projected lineups:

Nashville:

Offense:

Filip Forsberg — Ryan Johansen — Viktor Arvidsson

Scott Hartnell — Calle Jarnkrok — Miikka Salomaki

Kevin Fiala — Colton Sissons — Craig Smith

Cody McLeod — Frederick Gaudreau — Austin Watson

Defense:

Roman Josi — Mattias Ekholm

Alexei Emelin — P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin — Yannick Weber

Goaltenders:

Juuse Saros

Pekka Rinne

New York Rangers:

Offense:

Rick Nash — Mika Zibanejad — Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider — David Desharnais — J.T. Miller

Jimmy Vesey — Kevin Hayes — Jesper Fast

Michael Grabner — Adam Cracknell — Pavel Buchnevich

Defense:

Ryan McDonagh — Tony DeAngelo

Marc Staal — Kevin Shattenkirk

Brady Skjei — Brendan Smith

Goaltenders:

Henrik Lundqvist

Ondrej Pavelec