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Nashville Predators 5, New York Rangers 3: Neal Scores Twice, Preds Hold Off Rangers

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The Preds took it to the Rangers in the 3rd period and come away with a nice bounce-back win.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators put together a solid game against the New York Rangers tonight at the Bridge. Scoring 5 goals in the win, the Preds saw excellent production in all aspects of the game and from nearly every position. Power-play, even-strength, the penalty-kill, Pekka, the defense, the forwards... all of it was pretty damn good tonight. The Rangers are a playoff team and the Preds took it to them for probably 50 of the 60 minutes.

Filip Forsberg, James Neal (x2), Craig Smith, and Ryan Ellis all scored for the Predators. The goals came in a variety of ways... breakouts, power-play, traffic in front, blue-line. Solid scoring balance with much of it coming in the 3rd period. Pekka Rinne stopped 26 of 29 shots and got his 15th win of the year.

Jesper Fast, Rick Nash, and J.T. Miller scored for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist was not his usual self, giving up 5 goals on 35 shots.

Two points. Bring on the Blues tomorrow night!

Random Observations

  • Much like the previous meeting with the Rangers, the Predators are starting out with some intense pressure. Great chances by Jarnkrok and Josi early in the period. Jarnkrok is anchoring the 3rd line now, with Mike Fisher back in the mix.
  • Matthias Ekholm's diving pass-block with about 4 minutes left in the 1st period was as good a defensive play as you're gonna see. Stopped a 2-on-1 and saved Rinne from having to make an impossible save.
  • Un-freaking-believable pass by Josi on that un-freaking-believable goal by Forsberg. Both were lasers. Pew pew!
  • Jesper Fast with a brilliant redirect in front of Rinne to tie the game at 1. The Preds spent way too much time in the defensive zone and Josi was just a bit late getting to Fast in front. The Preds are still outplaying the Rangers in most areas of the game... but that could change quickly with this goal by Fast. Preds will need to jump on the forecheck quickly to get the momentum right back.
  • Jackman took a puck to the leg and it looked painful. What's worse is it took about a minute or so for the Preds to get possession back and dump the puck so Jackman could get off the ice. The agony Jackman must have endured while  trapped on the ice, hoping his teammates could get to the puck. Dangerous moment.
  • Neal scores! Wooo! Brilliant play by Wilson and then Josi to get the puck to HJN on the breakout and then Neal does what he does best. That's a team leading 14th goal for Neal. Wilson started the play with a great entry move, then Josi delayed and found Neal coming in to the zone late. Really a beautiful looking play. That's the type of scoring we want to see in the next 50+ games. More of that please.
  • Going in to the 3rd period, the Predators look HUNGRY.
  • Well it's fair to say that Forsberg (and the rest of the hockey world) got robbed of a sensational behind the net goal. Forsberg banked the puck in off the back of Lundqvist to put the Preds up 3-1, but the Rangers challenged, saying that Smith interfered with the goalie. He pretty clearly didn't, but the refs saw something different. No goal. And the boo's rain down.
  • And now Smith scores a minute later! But WAIT. Did he knock it in with a high stick? Apparently no. Wow, what a sequence. Bridgestone would have exploded had they overturned the Smith goal. Instead it counts and the Preds lead 3-1 (as they should, because there was nothing wrong with Forsberg's goal).
  • Ka-BLAM. Human Rocketship takes off. Power-play Frosty goal for Ryan Ellis and the PP2, and the Preds lead 4-1.
  • James Neal with a tap-in birdie. Just having that kind of a night. Right there where he needs to be.
  • Pekka with a not so good hiccup on the clearing attempt and Rick Nash gets an easy one. Hmm. That wasn't great.
  • Things got a little too shaky in the end. I guess a 5-1 win would have been too much to ask. Instead it's a 5-3 win, which still counts.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • James Neal: the man can rip with the best of them. Beat one of the best in the game tonight, too. The Preds need him to start a nice scoring streak in these next few games.
  • Mike Ribeiro: 3 assists. Excellent presence in the offensive zone, tonight. He made some fantastic passes to get guys open.
  • Filip Forsberg: the opening goal was an absolute laser and his second (non) goal should have counted. He now has 4 official goals in his last 4 games.

Tweets of the Night

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