Last night, the Nashville Predators traveled to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers. Once again, the Predators lost, for the third straight game, by a total of 4-1.
All night, Nashville struggled with the speed of the Rangers, as it seemed like they were getting outworked to the puck. The scoring started in the first period at 06:36 with Marc Staal (5) beating Pekka Rinne high, glove side. During the 2nd period, New York was able to go up 2-0 by a Chris Kreider (17) score at 04:14. Matt Cullen continued his hot streak as he scored the lone goal for Nashville at 15:24 of the second period. The third period belonged to the Rangers with two scores, one from Dominic Moore (6) and an EN goal from Rick Nash (38).
The sputtering Preds will try and right the ship as they take on the New Jersey Devils at 6:00 p.m. CST at Prudential Center tonight.
The New Jersey Devils (26-27-10) last played on Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus was unable to score as goaltender, Cory Schneider, stymied their offense to give New Jersey a 2-0 win. New Jersey was able to get scores from Andy Greene (2) at 15:47 of the 1st period and an EN goal from Travis Zajac (10) with 30 seconds left in regulation.
The Devils currently have 4 players listed as injured. Ryane Clowe has been on the IR since 11/7/14 due to complications from a concussion. Bryce Salvador is another New Jersey player on the IR and has been there since 11/11/14 due to a back injury. Damon Severson has been on the IR since 12/18/14 with an ankle injury, and goaltender, Keith Kinkaid is currently day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Keys to Watch
Nashville has lost 3 in a row, 5 out of 7, and have a goal differential of -5 over their last 7. The Nashville Predators have not been good recently. The Predators are currently in a slump. The statistics show that. Let’s get that out of they way. Are they doomed forever? No. Can they come back from this? ABSOLUTELY. Tonight’s game couldn’t come at a better time. Nashville is facing a team that is currently 9 points out of the LAST playoff spot in the Eastern Conference that has been devastated by injury and recently traded one of their best players in Jaromir Jagr. New Jersey has lost 2 out of 3 and doesn’t seem to be going to the playoffs. Nashville will be alright. Corrections need to be made, and the players are adjusting. Keep your calm, Preds fans!
Lack of Production
In the last 5 games, Filip Forsberg has 1 point, Colin Wilson has 0 points, James Neal has 0 points, and Shea Weber has 1 point. The offensive production of players who were producing at a high level early in the season has completely plummeted. If the Predators want to get back on the winning track, they have to get these 4 going. Many of the shots produced in the Rangers game were from 15 feet or further out. The reason that Matt Cullen, Craig Smith, and Mike Fisher have been doing well recently is because they are getting to the net and making things happen. Nashville needs to get back to that style of offense of getting traffic to the net and putting back rebounds, instead of the big slap shot scores.
No Predators player has been more offensively productive in the last 5 games than Matt Cullen. Cullen has 6 points in the last 5 games and has been an offensive surprise recently. Last night, he scored a goal off of a beautiful pass from Taylor Beck. With 2 goals and 4 assists, Matt Cullen has given the Preds offense a boost, where it has DEFINITELY been needed. Look for Cullen to extend his 4 game point streak tonight in New Jersey.
Nashville will look to contend with a struggling New Jersey squad at 6:00 p.m. CST at Prudential Center tonight. All of your Preds action can be seen on Fox Sports Tennessee or you can listen live to 102.5 The Game for every second of Nashville Predators action!