Predators bounce back from rare home loss, beat Rangers 3-2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Nashville Predators sometimes have to remind Mike Ribeiro to shoot more. The man much more comfortable setting up his teammates came through Saturday with a very big slap shot.
Ribeiro scored both the winner and his 700th career point with 7:14 left in the third period and the Predators bounced back from a rare home loss to beat the New York Rangers 3-2.
”Sometimes they laugh at me because I don’t shoot hard enough,” said Ribeiro, who has 487 career assists. ”I always thought if someone has a better shot than me, then I should give it to them. It was the right timing for me to shoot, and it went in. The most important thing is we battled through.”
The Predators, coming off their third regulation loss at home this season against Anaheim on Thursday night, improved to 11-0-1 after a regulation loss this season. Pekka Rinne made 30 saves in his second game back from a knee injury.
”For sure, the Rangers are a good team coming in here, and it’s nice that we were able to play this good and get a win,” Nashville defenseman Roman Josi said.
Josi and Shea Weber also scored, and Josi also had an assist in giving Nashville defensemen 134 points and 36 goals this season – both the most in the NHL.
Rick Nash scored his league-leading 33rd goal, and Ryan McDonagh also scored for the Rangers. They had won three straight.
”We have to find a way to win that one, especially coming back in the third,” Nash said.
Cam Talbot got his second straight start in net for the Rangers with goalie Henrik Lundqvist out at least three weeks with a vascular injury after taking a puck in the throat a week ago. Talbot had a shutout win in his last game at Nashville last season, just 90 miles from where he played college hockey in Huntsville, Alabama.
The Rangers have been pretty dominant against Western Conference teams this season and better on the road at 7-1-0. They also had won four straight in Nashville.
”A couple of those goals against, the puck had eyes and just found the holes,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. ”But we spent a lot of time in their end. We had some real good looks, like the way we played, and we’ll get back at it tomorrow night.”
The Predators lost forward Colin Wilson, tied for the team lead with a career-high 17 goals, to an upper-body injury in the first period. Wilson is day-to-day.
When Weber took an interference penalty at 10:38 in the second, that gave the Rangers the man advantage they needed. Nash scored on a backhander from in front off an assist from Martin St. Louis at 11:49 for a 1-0 lead.
The Predators’ defensemen got them going. First, Josi celebrated a game during which fans got his bobblehead by scoring his 10th this season on a slap shot at 18:39, then Weber scored his 12th on his own slap shot from the back edge of the right circle 42 seconds later putting Nashville up 2-1.
”That was huge for us,” Rinne said.
The Rangers started the third with a flurry in front of Rinne, and McDonagh scored his fourth at 1:37 seconds with a wrister from the left circle.
Ribeiro wound up on the left side and beat Talbot with a slap shot at 12:46, giving Nashville a 3-2 lead that Rinne made stand up for his 30th win this season.
NOTES: Nashville improved to 21-3-1 at home. … The Rangers have scored a power-play goal in 10 of their last 19 games. … The Predators had killed 23 straight penalties in the previous six games until Nash’s power-play goal. … Nash has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in his last 11 games against. St. Louis has points in 10 straight games against the Predators with five goals and nine assists.
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