The Predators broke open a close game with three goals in a four-minute stretch of the 3rd period to beat the Rangers, 5-3, Monday night in Nashville. It was New York’s eighth straight road loss, and continued a five-week slump that has seen the Blueshirts go 4-10-2 in their last 16 games.
James Neal scored twice, and Mike Ribeiro notched three assists for the Predators. Pekka Rinne made 26 saves for the win. The Predators were 2-for-2 on the powerplay.
Filip Forsberg gave Nashville a 1-0 lead late in the 1st period with a power play goal at 18:56. Jesper Fast tied things up for the Rangers, 1-1, at the 7:56 mark of the 2nd period; it was Fast’s 6th goal of the season. But Neal scored at 13:48 of the 2nd to give the Predators a 2-1 lead.
Then, in the 3rd period, Forsberg appeared to score a goal at 5:13, but, after a replay challenge, the goal was overturned. The Predators responded shortly thereafter, getting goals from Craig Smith, Ryan Ellis, and Neal, in a span of 3:39 to make it 5-1 Nashville and blow the game open.
Henrik Lundqvist was pulled after the second Neal goal, after giving up five goals on 35 shots. Antti Raanta, back after an injury, played the remainder of the game.
Rick Nash and J.T. Miller scored goals late, to make it seem closer than it was.
Dan Girardi returned to the lineup after missing five games with an injury to his kneecap. Kevin Klein was back, after missing 11 games with an oblique injury.
The Rangers [now 20-13-4, 44 pts] play the Lightning Wednesday night in Tampa.