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Nashville Predators @ New York Rangers: Afternoon Special

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Who doesn’t love some early afternoon hockey?

NHL: Nashville Predators at New York Rangers Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Meeting for the first time this season the Nashville Predators will meet the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden this afternoon or morning depending on what time zone you’re in. But who doesn’t want to wake up to hockey?

New York Rangers

Despite having some impressive talent on their roster, things are not going well for the Rangers early on this season. Currently sitting dead last in the Metropolitan division with a 1-5-2 record, it’s not impressive, but it’s still early enough for the Rangers to turn this season around, and they’re well aware of that.

They’ve been to the playoffs for the last seven seasons and know what it takes to get there, but they’ll have to turn things around quickly unless they want to spend the second half of the season going undefeated.

Mika Zibanejad is leading the team with five goals, followed by Kevin Shattenkirk with two. Eight games in, that’s not great, but the Rangers have plenty of guys who are just looking for the right opportunity to find their scoring groove this season. This won’t be a game that comes down to goaltending either. Henrik Lunqvist has one win under his belt so far posting a .905 Sv% and a 3.15 GAA. The Rangers might still need some time to get their groove, and the Predators will need to keep the pressure on through three periods of play to pull off an early afternoon win.

The Nashville Predators

The Predators are coming off their first road win of the season against the Philadelphia Flyers and will be looking to continue the momentum this afternoon. The second meeting with the Flyers was a bit tame compared to the home opener the week before, but the Preds are starting to find their groove.

With the loss of Ryan Ellis and Nick Bonino these early season games have been a real test for the younger group to step up and fill the holes left by the veterans. Staying out of the box and off the penalty kill will be a huge task not just against the Rangers but throughout the entire season. They could also use some work on the power play themselves, but it’s looked a lot better the past few games.

The Preds haven’t announced who their starting goaltender will be. Pekka Rinne is coming off his first shut-out win of the season and has been solid so far this season. With a GAA of 2.01 and a Sv% of .932 we’ve seen a lot worse from Rinne. While Juuse Sarros has only played one game this season don’t be surprised to see the young Finn starting this afternoon in New York.

Reasons to Watch

  • Viktor Arvidsson’s hustle against Philadelphia Thursday night was unbelievable. Even a fraction of that hustle early should help the Preds score a few goals this afternoon.
  • Goaltending, regardless of who gets the start this afternoon, Rinne has been the Pekka we know and love to see his past few starts, and we can all use a little more Juuse Sarros in our lives.
  • It’s Fil-Tober! Fil Forsberg has found his scoring groove early this season which is exactly what you want to see for the young power house this early.

Sights and Sounds

Game start is at 11:30 CT Fox Sports will televise the game while 102.5 The Game has your radio broadcast covered.