The result sees Nashville’s five-game point streak come to a close, resulting in their third regulation loss of the season and only New York’s second win.
The Predators had their chances on the afternoon, outshooting the Rangers 25-15, including a 13-5 advantage in the final 40 minutes, but Nashville was unable to convert on their chances when they had them.
“You work to get the opportunities, and I thought we did, they didn’t go for us tonight,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “But the effort was there, the guys played a pretty good game.”
In the first, a couple of defensive mistakes by the Preds created a breakaway and an in-tight one-timer for the Rangers, with New York picking up two goals on the corresponding plays.
First, Jesper Fast collected his first of the season on a juicy rebound after Juuse Saros stopped Kevin Hayes’s breakaway bid. Five minutes later, Chris Kreider fired home a shot from the low slot for a 2-0 Rangers lead after the first period.
The second frame began with speed and results for the Preds. Nashville took a territorial advantage to open the period and Ekholm slapped a puck past Henrik Lundqvist to cut the visitor’s deficit to 2-1 only 1:44 in.
After Kevin Hayes put the Rangers back up by two, Preds center Ryan Johansen one-armed a pass to Roman Josi, whose shot was deflected by Forsberg and made things 3-2 through 40 minutes.
Nashville did all they could to even the score in the third period, putting nine shots and a slew of chances at the Rangers’ net, but the Blueshirts iced it with an empty-netter before regulation was out.
Captain Roman Josi pointed to an 0-for-5 mark on the man advantage as a downfall for the Preds on the day, something one of the League’s best power plays will aim to correct.
“I thought they came out stronger, but in the second and third, we were the better team out there,” Josi said. “We had a lot of chances, especially in the third, but it’s just a matter of executing on the power play… We had a lot of chances and we have to get a goal there.”
Laviolette saw further improvement in his team’s game through the afternoon as he has all season, but the final result was a product of the Rangers taking advantage of their opportunities and the Predators not doing so enough.
“We’re in the collecting points business, so today we collected zero,” Laviolette said. “But it’s early, our game has gotten better every game. [Today] was no different, we just didn’t get the results.”
Center Nick Bonino was placed on Injured Reserve on Friday. Winger Pontus Aberg and defensemen Anthony Bitetto and Samuel Girard were scratched for Saturday’s contest.
With a goal and an assist, Filip Forsberg became the first Nashville skater to reach double digits in points this season (6g-5a-11pts).
Up next for Nashville is another quick stop at home to host Jaromir Jagr and the Calgary Flames (on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. CT).
Pete Weber’s Postgame Report