For one night, the "grit" guys at the bottom of the Nashville Predators' depth chart led the way as the Preds ended their 5-game losing streak with a win over the New York Rangers in front of a national audience on NBC Sports. Amid a rising tide of discontent with the "Predator Way", pluggers Nick Spaling, Rich Clune, Paul Gaustad and Matt Hendricks accounted for all the goals.
After Spaling gave the Preds (14-14-3) a 1-0 lead, Matt Hendricks set up Rich Clune for a nifty-looking goal late in the first period to give Nashville a rare two-goal lead. Hendricks picked a poor time to go off for a line change in the second, however, and that led directly to Rick Nash's goal to get the Rangers on the board. Hendricks banged home a loose puck in the crease for the third goal of the game early in the final period, while Gaustad added an empty netter to close things out.
Carter Hutton earned his first win since November 6 at Colorado, stopping 28 New York shots to push his record to 5-3-1. The Predators return home for games against Dallas on Thursday and San Jose on Saturday to close out the week.
- Naturally, my biggest fear is that a game like this encourages Barry Trotz to give more ice time to the 4th line.
- Give a big "boo... hiss..." to Carl Hagelin for his slew foot on Clune as he skated around the side of the net in the Preds' zone, that was bush league stuff.
- Give a hearty cheer however for Carter Hutton, getting his first start since November 10 at New Jersey. He was under serious pressure to stop the bleeding and came through with a strong effort.
- How badly did the coaching staff want to lock down this win? Just click the Event Summary below and check out the ice time for Shea Weber & Roman Josi relative to the rest of the defense.
Roll the video highlights...
- Nashville Predators @ New York Rangers Preview: A Crisis of Identity
- Tuesday's Dump & Chase: Salary Cap Going Up; Will the Preds Spend Again?
- An OTF Editorial: "The Predator Way" needs a new direction
- Monday's Dump & Chase: Who Do You Blame For This Preds Team?
- Nashville Predators Schedule: The Week Ahead