Pekka Rinne
Rangers-Predators Preview
Pekka Rinne

Rangers-Predators Preview

Published Dec. 27, 2015 2:53 p.m. ET

The Nashville Predators will spend much of the next month on the road as they try to make up ground in the Central Division.

Leaving home with a victory over a quality opponent could provide the confidence it needs for that stretch.

Nashville seeks a third win in four tries when it hosts the well-rested New York Rangers on Monday night.

The Predators (17-12-6) sit in fifth place in the Central and are looking to earn a split of a four-game homestand that included some time off for the holiday break. They returned in disappointing fashion Saturday, falling 3-2 to Detroit.


After this matchup with the Rangers (20-12-4), they'll travel to face division foes St. Louis on Tuesday and Dallas on Thursday to begin a stretch of 11 of 14 on the road.

"There's still a lot of games left, but we have big games coming up again against the division on Tuesday and a big game against New York Monday," forward Mike Ribeiro said. "When you lose, you're frustrated like I am right now, but the only thing you can do is really focus for the next one and really come out like we know we can. When we do that, we come out strong in the first most times, we'll win games."

Ribeiro assisted on both of Filip Forsberg's goals Saturday to give him a goal and four assists over his last three. Forsberg has come on lately as well with three goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.

Forsberg has nine goals and 15 assists in 34 games this season after posting 26 goals and 63 points in his first full NHL season in 2014-15. Forward production has been lacking all around for the Predators, though, as defensemen Roman Josi (26 points) and Shea Weber (25) are the club's top two scores.

''I have been playing up and down, but lately I have been feeling good,'' Forsberg said. ''It's always good to score goals. That's what I'm here for, but it doesn't really matter when we lose a game like (Saturday's).''

Forsberg has one assist in three career games against the Rangers, who have won the last two meetings with Nashville after Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves in a 3-0 victory Nov. 23.

Lundqvist gave up 13 goals during New York's three-game losing streak before stopping 17 shots in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime win over Anaheim that sent it into the holiday break on a positive note.

Mats Zuccarello scored on the power play in the extra session to give him four goals and four assists over his last seven. He had one point in his previous nine.

"We were letting way too many goals in, way too many chances," defenseman Marc Staal said. "We talked about being better and I thought we were. We didn't really give them much."

Derick Brassard assisted on the winner and scored twice, his third two-goal game in his last nine. He has 13 points over his last 12 after posting 15 in his first 24.

"He works hard every night," Zuccarello said of Brassard. "He's one of our best players. We need guys like that stepping up if we are going to turn things around."

Lundqvist will be in goal again for this contest and has a 1.50 goals-against average in eight career starts against the Predators.

Pekka Rinne has a 2.01 GAA in his last five, but it's unclear if he'll get the start with Nashville playing the following night.


Pekka Rinne
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