New York Hockey: Nashville Predators

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Predators 0

January, 17, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

What it means: The Rangers halted Nashville's five-game winning streak with a bounce-back 3-0 win at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. The Blueshirts improved to 29-11-4 as goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to record his fourth shutout of the season and 39th of his career.

Screen shot: With the Rangers up 1-0, John Mitchell extended the lead to two goals with his fourth of the season. Mitchell spun to shake Gabriel Bourque and fired a wrister from the right circle to beat a screened Anders Lindback at 10:42. of the second period.

Controversial call: Seventeen seconds into their second power-play of the game, the Rangers saw their man-advantage negated when Marian Gaborik was whistled for a high-sticking double minor that left Nashville's Mike Fisher bleeding. Video replays showed that it was actually Predators winger Sergei Kostitsyn's stick that struck Fisher in the chin.

A little help: Dan Girardi's shot at 6:15 of the first deflected off Predators defenseman Jack Hillen and past goaltender Anders Lindback for a 1-0 Rangers lead in a chippy first period.

Dubinsky, Fedotenko back: Both Brandon Dubinsky and Ruslan Fedotenko returned to the lineup Tuesday. Dubinsky missed three games with a shoulder injury while Fedotenko left Saturday's 3-0 win over Toronto with an ailing back. Wojtek Wolski was scratched to accommodate their return.

Line shuffle: Although the Rangers' newly configured top line of Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik remained intact for most of the night, coach John Tortorella experimented with several different line combinations in the second period -- including Brad Richards with Brandon Dubinsky and Brandon Prust and Ryan Callahan with Ruslan Fedotenko and Brian Boyle.

Up next: Rangers vs. Penguins, 7 p.m. Thursday.

W2W4: Predators vs. Devils

December, 17, 2010
For the second straight game the Devils face a defensive-minded hockey club when the Predators skate into Newark Friday night. Here are three factors to monitor when the action starts.

Kovalchuk Breakout Coming?

Considering star free agent acquisition Ilya Kovalchuk was on pace for 14 goals this season heading into Wednesday’s game against Phoenix, his two-goal outburst was very welcome. Be it the pressure, the system or something else entirely, the Russian winger had not lived up to his superstar billing in his first 28 games with the club. Wednesday however, he looked every bit the part, tallying twice -- once on the power play -- for the winning side. He now has six points in his last five games (although he’s still minus-five over that span). Talent will out over the course of a season, so you have to expect some kind of a surge from Kovalchuk. This could be the start of a nice streak. And boy, do the Devils need it.

Rolston Rolling Out?

Brian Rolston suited up against Phoenix after clearing waivers, but a few statements made at practice Thursday, and reported by the Star-Ledger’s Dave Hutchison, suggest he’s ready to leave New Jersey for good. It’s tough to say what that means in the long term, since the Devils may be loathe to send him to the minors and recall him, allowing teams to claim him for half price (a little over $2.5 million) and stick the Devils with the rest of the bill. The trade market for a player of his age making over $5M per season is also thin. In the short term though, it likely means the Devils will enjoy Rolston’s best effort as he tries to win over visiting scouts in attendance. Expect him to come out full throttle against the Preds.

Familiar Faces

Jason Arnott should be able to provide the Devils with all the details they can handle of tonight's opponent, as the center skated with Nashville for four seasons before returning to New Jersey. Arnott says there are no hard feelings against the franchise after it dealt him back to the Devils this summer. The center does have a history of making his former teams pay, however. Since leaving for Dallas in the 2002-03 season, he averaged a point per game against the Devils through the 2009-10 campaign in Nashville.