Their latest defeat prompted the New York Rangers to hold a
closed-door, players-only meeting they hope will resolve some
issues and help the team get back on track.
The slumping Nashville Predators are searching for answers of
New York looks to avoid a fourth straight home loss while
dealing Nashville a sixth consecutive defeat Tuesday night.
The Rangers (15-15-1) seemed out of sync in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to
Washington, a performance that came one night after opening a
franchise-record nine-game homestand with a 4-3 overtime loss to
They’ve lost three of four overall, allowing at least four goals
in each defeat. They haven’t lost four straight at Madison Square
Garden since Feb. 20-March 3, 2011.
”We should be the ones dictating everything,” defenseman Ryan
McDonagh said. ”Especially home games, it’s been too easy for
teams coming in here. (We need to) come out with a lot of fire and
get some hits, some blocked shots and get the crowd into it.
”They really had nothing to stand up for, and it’s something
we’re ashamed of. It’s something we take some pride in here and try
The players gathered sans coaches and media for roughly 15
minutes Sunday hoping to spark a turnaround.
”It’s not going to come from anyone else except from the 22
guys in here,” center Derek Stepan said. ”It doesn’t matter if
you were playing well, playing bad. It doesn’t matter. We have to
start playing as a group.
”We need to grasp it here, need to play with some desperation.
That’s the biggest key right now.”
McDonagh and Stepan scored in New York’s 2-0 win over Nashville
on Nov. 23, and the Rangers will look to sweep the season series
with a Predators team having trouble finding the back of the
Nashville (13-14-3) has totaled seven goals during its five-game
skid, and it allowed the first three in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to
Washington. Roman Josi and Eric Nystrom scored, while rookie Marek
Mazanec made 28 saves.
”We couldn’t find a way to score,” said defenseman Shea Weber,
who played for the first time since being hit with a puck Nov. 28.
”Same story, we’ve just got to find a way to put it in.”
Coach Barry Trotz is doing his best to help his team focus on
the task at hand.
“It’s making it very difficult,” Trotz said. “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.”
After Cam Talbot made 17 saves to earn the shutout in the first
meeting, the Predators likely will have to contend with Henrik
Lundqvist in goal for the Rangers.
Lundqvist who signed a seven-year, $59.5 million contract
extension Wednesday, is just 2-3-1 with a 3.19 goals-against
average over his last six starts. He’s 4-2-0 with a 1.50 GAA in six
career outings against Nashville, which could counter with
Mazanec, who made 32 saves in the first meeting, is 0-4-1 with a
3.42 GAA in his last five starts.
The Rangers have won the last three meetings with the Predators,
including the past two via shutout.